The boreal forest is a fire-dependent ecosystem that has relied on the periodic occurrence of wildfires for maintaining important pioneer plant species. Historically fire has been an important disturbance agent, but modem fire suppression techniques have resulted in a reduction in the number and size of wildfires. Because fire cycles have increased, managers cannot depend on wildfires for initiating and maintaining many forest processes today. Without a renewal of the historical fire cycle, serious changes will result in the forest landscape since life expectancy of individual fire-dependent tree species is much shorter than the current fire cycle. This change will also affect other aspects of the forest, Such as wildlife and insect populations. Managers need to understand the consequences of fire exclusion to the overall health of the boreal ecosystem and the possible means of restoring fire as an ecosystem process.