This project was designed to evaluate at a practical scale the effectiveness and costs of a range of fine fuels management treatments in West Hawai‘i Island. The study occurred along a major inland highway from which wildfires frequently originate. We applied four major treatments that included a control (no treatment), prescribed burning, cattle grazing, and a combined burning and grazing treatment. Aerially-applied herbicide was then applied to half of each of these primary treatments resulting in a total of eight unique treatment combinations.
We measured fuels (live and dead fuel loads, type, height and continuity) and modelled potential wildfire behaviour (flame height and rate of spread) inside and outside of 13 ungulate exclosures, three of which received active ecological restoration (e.g. planting of native shrubs and trees), across a 2,740 mm mean annual rainfall (MAR) gradient on the Island of Hawaii. Differences in fuel characteristics and modelled wildfire behaviour inside versus outside of ungulate exclosures were assessed using linear mixed effects analyses.