Reply to comment by J. Bouldin on "Has fire suppression increased the amount of carbon stored in western US forests?'
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Reply to comment by J. Bouldin on "Has fire suppression increased the amount of carbon stored in western US forests?'

  • Author(s): Goulden, ML
  • Fellows, AW
  • Goulden, ML
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

We agree with some aspects of Bouldin [2009] and welcome the opportunity to clarify aspects of Fellows and Goulden [2008, hereafter F-G]. Several of Bouldin’s claims reflect his interpretation of the core message of our paper. Bouldin feels our main message was that ‘‘fire suppression, independent of logging, has brought about a decrease in live, aboveground tree carbon via increased mortality of large trees in western U.S. forests’’. Our intended message was that we found no evidence that fire suppression has led to a large increase in forest biomass, and a suggestion, along with a hypothesized mechanism, that fire suppression has led to a loss of biomass. We feel Bouldin’s interpretation is inconsistent with our paper, which repeatedly returns to the question of whether fire suppression has increased carbon stocks, and discusses the possibility of a general loss of carbon with fire suppression as a hypothesis rather than statement of fact. Our paper generated popular press, some of which may have overemphasized the possibility of carbon loss, and Bouldin may be reacting to some of these articles.

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