Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Frey, Brent R.

Committee Member

Varner, Julian Morgan

Committee Member

Roberts, Scott D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Forestry


Many fire-prone forests in western North America suffer from hazardous fuel conditions. Mechanical mastication is an increasingly common method of fuels treatment, but little is known regarding long-term effectiveness. A randomized block design at two sites (northern Sierras and southern Cascades) compared ladder fuels and overstory growth among treatments including mastication alone and mastication followed with prescribed fire or herbicide 10 or 11 years post-treatment. Subsequent herbicide application reduced ladder fuels in comparison to mastication alone or with prescribed fire. Prescribed fire further reduced ladder fuels at the southern Cascades site, however, in the northern Sierras postire ladder fuels were positively related to overstory absence. Mastication alone effectively released ponderosa pine at the southern Cascades site, whereas neither herbicide nor prescribed fire affected pine radial growth. This study demonstrates the feasibility of prescribed fire and herbicide for increasing treatment longevity of mastication, but also highlights potential limitations and important considerations.