Date of this Version
Resources, Environment and Sustainability 10 (2022) 100091. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resenv.2022.100091
Invasive tree removal from grazing lands using costly brush management practices is widely employed. However, wildfire-like natural events can prevent the increasing trend of woody tree encroachment in grazing lands at no cost, instead of cost-oriented prescribed burning. This study aims to estimate the effects of wildfire in 2002 on woody tree encroachment trends during the post-wildfire period (2003–20), as well as the recurrence interval of the encroachment of a wildfire site in the United States. An autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model was employed to forecast the tree cover during the post-wildfire period. We found that the pre-wildfire tree cover was 4.26% of the total area, which decreased to 1.42% immediately after the wildfire. During 2003–20, wildfire contributed to an average lowering of woody-dominated areas of the wildfire site by 6.59%. The wildfire-recovered grazing area was converted to a woody area again after 8 years, which was due to recurring woody encroachment. Therefore, it is critical to implement brush management strategies to stop the recurrence of woody plant encroachment following wildfire.