Millions of hectares of rangeland in the western United States have been invaded by annual and woody plants that have increased the role of wildland fire. Altered fire regimes pose significant implications for runoff and erosion. In this paper we synthesize what is known about fire impacts on rangeland hydrology and erosion, and how that knowledge advances understanding of hydrologic risks associated with landscape scale plant community transitions and altered fire regimes. The increased role of wildland fire on western rangeland exposes landscapes to amplified runoff and erosion over short- and long-term windows of time and increases the risk of damage to soil and water resources, property, and human lives during extreme events. Amplified runoff and erosion postfire are a function of storm characteristics and fire-induced changes in site conditions (i.e., ground cover, soil water repellency, aggregate stability, and surface roughness) that define site susceptibility. We suggest that overall postfire hydrologic vulnerability be considered in a probabilistic framework that predicts hydrologic response for a range of potential storms and site susceptibilities and that identifies the hydrologic response magnitudes at which damage to values-at-risk are likely to occur. We identify key knowledge gaps that limit advancement of predictive technologies to address the increased role of wildland fire across rangeland landscapes. Our review of literature suggests quantifying interactions of varying rainfall intensity and key measures of site susceptibility, temporal variability in strength/influence of soil water repellency, and spatial scaling of postfire runoff and erosion remain paramount areas for future research to address hydrologic effects associated with the increased role of wildland fire on western rangelands.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.