Burn Recovery and Rehabilitation of Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub on the Cleveland National Forest
Johnson, David J.
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This study documents shrub recovery of coastal sage scrub one year after a May 1993 burn, the Eagle Fire in the Cleveland National Forest, San Diego Co., CA. Natural recovery of the two dominant shrubs, Artemisia californica and Eriogonum fasciculatum, on the site was compared with areas seeded by the Forest Service to assess the efficacy of the seeding treatment. In addition, sites were sampled on the Ortega Fire site, an area which burned in November 1993 in Orange Co., CA. in the Cleveland National Forest. This was done to characterize seasonal and inland/coastal differences in coastal sage scrub burn recovery. Surviving shrub resprouts and shrub foliar cover were negligible on all sites sampled. Unburned coastal sage scrub on the Eagle Fire site was sampled to give a minimum recovery goal for seedling counts. From this, it was shown that natural seeding counts on three out of four burned sites sampled exceeded the minimum recovery goal and the balance of shrub species was more similar to that of an unburned coastal sage scrub site than to the seeded sites. Further monitoring is necessary to discover if these early trends will continue. Comparison of the May Eagle fire and the November Ortega fire unexpectedly revealed that recovery of Artemisia was higher on the May burn than on the November burn. It is postulated that substantial on-site seed germination of Artemisia on the Eagle Fire was enhanced by the low fire intensity due to the season of the fire.