FORESTRY AND FUELS REDUCTION

Lake Tahoe Basin. GBI Research Associates help the US Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit manage the Urban Lot Management department, contributing to timber stand improvement, vegetation management, and parcel condition monitoring (PCM). Funded in part through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA), the Urban Lots Management program has become increasingly important as population in the basin continues to grow and the threat of wildfire increases.

A seasonal PCM crew is responsible for collecting data on a vast array of impacts to the urban-forest interface. In addition to lending support in the event of a wildfire, seasonal PCM crews conduct vegetation/forest health monitoring, hazard fuels assessments, watershed/soil erosion analyses, and invasive weed presence/absence inventories. These data, along with GPS data and photopoints, are entered into an oracle database, which is utilized by LTBMU managers to develop appropriate management strategies and actions.

GBI RAs have also been key members of Timber Stand Improvement (TSI), Forests Stand Prep, and Vegetation Management crews. Working collaboratively with Forest Service seasonals, TSI crews are generally responsible for creating defensible spaces and removing hazard fuels in order to mitigate forest fire risks and damage. The vegetation management and forest stand prep crews’ duties include timber marking/tallying for strike teams, timber cruising, stand exam data collection, tree measurement, sale area layout work and GPS-ing slash piles for mastication. Faced with increasing fire danger, these jobs continue to be critical in ensuring human safety and forest ecosystem health.