Fire in western forest ecosystems
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): Stephen F. Arno
Editor(s): James K. Brown; Jane Kapler Smith
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • biogeography
  • Black Hills
  • British Columbia
  • burning intervals
  • Canada
  • Cascades Range
  • catastrophic fires
  • Ceanothus spp.
  • climax vegetation
  • Cronartium ribicola
  • cutting
  • distribution
  • Douglas-fir
  • duff
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • elevation
  • fire danger rating
  • fire frequency
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire resistant plants
  • fire severity
  • forage
  • forest management
  • forest types
  • fuel loading
  • habitat
  • hardwood forest
  • human caused fires
  • Jeffrey pine
  • Larix occidentalis
  • light burning
  • Mexico
  • Montana
  • mosaic
  • mountains
  • national parks
  • Native Americans
  • Nevada
  • openings
  • Oregon
  • pine forests
  • Pinus albicaulis
  • Pinus contorta
  • Pinus jeffreyi
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • Pinus sabiniana
  • plant communities
  • plant diseases
  • plant growth
  • plant response
  • ponderosa pine
  • presettlement fires
  • presettlement vegetation
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • Quercus alba
  • Quercus douglasii
  • Quercus velutina
  • Rocky Mountains
  • Sequoia sempervirens
  • Sierra Nevada
  • site treatments
  • stand characteristics
  • succession
  • surface fires
  • thinning
  • understory vegetation
  • vegetation surveys
  • wildfires
  • wildlife habitat management
  • Wyoming
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 1398
Tall Timbers Record Number: 12910
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: A13.88:RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Major forest types that are characterized by nonlethal understory fire regimes include those where ponderosa pine or Jeffrey pine has been a major component either as a fire-maintained seral type or as the self-perpetuating climax (table 5-1). This includes extensive areas throughout the Western United States from northern Mexico to southern British Columbia, Canada (Little 1971). Also, sizeable areas of open woodlands dominated by Oregon white oak, California black oak, blue oak, or Digger pine were characterized by frequent understory fires largely due to deliberate burning by Native Americans (Boyd 1986; Lewis 1973). These occurred in relatively dry areas west of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada from the southwest corner of British Columbia to southern California. Recent studies suggest that large areas of the redwood forest in coastal northern California were characterized by frequent understory fires resulting from burning by Native Americans (Brown and Swetnam 1994; Duncan 1992; Finney and Martin 1989; Greenlee and Langenheim 1990). Additionally, portions of other forest types may also have had understory fire regimes. For example, some areas of interior Douglas-fir near the drought-caused lower timberline in the higher valleys of the Rocky Mountains may have been maintained in open condition in understory fire regimes (Arno and Gruell 1983; Arno and Hammerly 1984). Nevertheless, most of this type is best represented by the mixed regime.

Online Link(s):
Arno, Stephen F. 2000. Fire in western forest ecosystems. Pages 97-120 In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler (eds.). Wildland fire in ecosystems: effects of fire on flora. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.