USDA Forest Service

Post-fire Treatment Effectiveness for Hillslope Stabilization

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Treatment Effectiveness and Treatment Performance

Managers need to know how treatments work so they can determine the best treatment(s) for a specific location and adapt treatments to improve their effectiveness. For example, the formulation and application rate of mulches can be modified to enhance specific qualities, such as longevity, adherence to soil, interlocking of mulch strands, etc. To make this more explicit, we have differentiated "treatment effectiveness" from "treatment performance."
o Treatment effectiveness is used to describe how well a treatment meets emergency stabilization objectives. For example, if straw mulch were applied to burned hillslopes to reduce the peak flow rates and sediment yields, the treatment effectiveness would be the reduction in those two variables that could be ascribed to the treatment.

o Treatment performance characteristics are related to the materials used in the treatment (rice straw, wheat straw, average length of wood strands), installation features (percent cover, depth of straw), and changes over time (movement by wind, decay rate).
The treatment performance characteristics can affect treatment effectiveness, which is why they are assessed and monitored in addition to treatment effectiveness. However, emergency hillslope treatment effectiveness information (reduction in runoff, peak flows, and/or sediment yields) can be difficult to interpret when combined with measurements of treatment performance.

The information on this web page has been excerpted from the following publication:

Robichaud, Peter R.; Ashmun, Louise E.; Sims, Bruce D. 2010. Post-fire treatment effectiveness for hillslope stabilization. Gen Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-240. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 62 p.

USDA Forest Service - RMRS - Moscow Forestry Sciences Laboratory
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