Ecology and evolution of pine life histories
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Jon E. Keeley
Publication Year: 2012

Cataloging Information

  • abiotic stress
  • Cenozoic
  • crown fire
  • disturbance
  • evolution
  • fire adaptations
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire scar analysis
  • forest management
  • histories
  • life history
  • Mesozoic
  • paleoecology
  • pine forests
  • surface fire
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 15351
Tall Timbers Record Number: 27293
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
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.


Introduction: Pinus is a diverse genus of trees widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Understanding pine life history is critical to both conservation and fire management. Objectives: Here I lay out the different pathways of pine life history adaptation and a brief overview of pine evolution and the very significant role that fire has played. Results: Pinus originated ~150 Ma in the mid-Mesozoic Era and radiated across the northern continent of Laurasia during the Cretaceous Period. Pines have followed two evolutionary strategies interpreted as responses to competition by the newly emerging angiosperms. The Strobus lineage mostly has radiated into stressful sites of low nutrient soils and extremes in cold or heat. The Pinus (subgenus) lineage has radiated into fire-prone landscapes with diverse fire regimes. Examination of life history traits illustrates syndromes associated with fire-avoider, fire-tolerater, fire-embracer, and fire-refuge strategies. Conclusion: Understanding the current pattern of pine distribution requires interpreting their evolution in terms of climate, geology, and fire. All three of these factors have played a role since the Mesozoic origin of the genus. All are important to the appropriate management of these resources.

Online Link(s):
Keeley, Jon E. 2012. Ecology and evolution of pine life histories. Annals of Forest Science 69(4):445-453.

Related Records