The rain on the plain: are there vegetation-climate feedbacks?
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): D. W. Woodcock
Publication Year: 1992

Cataloging Information

  • biogeochemical cycles
  • biomass
  • Canada
  • Carya
  • climax vegetation
  • distribution
  • disturbance
  • fire adaptations (plants)
  • fire frequency
  • fire regimes
  • forbs
  • fuel loading
  • grasslands
  • grazing
  • Great Plains
  • hardwoods
  • human caused fires
  • hydrology
  • land management
  • lightning caused fires
  • mosaic
  • paleobotany
  • paleoecology
  • prairies
  • precipitation
  • Quercus
  • succession
  • tallgrass prairies
  • woody plants
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 36572
Tall Timbers Record Number: 10959
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.


The Interior Lowland of North America, comprising the Central Lowland and the Great Plains, is a region of approximately 3.2 x 106 km2. The nature of the (climatic) climax vegetation in this area has been a matter of controversy. Empirical evidence regarding the vegetation of the region from the Late Tertiary to recent is consistent with the idea that the area can support two types of vegetation, grassland or forest, under broadly the same climatic regime and raises questions regarding vegetation-atmosphere interactions. Positive feedbacks relating to surface hydrology may tend to favor forests; positive feedbacks involving fire regime may tend to favor grasslands. It should be possible to use coupled vegetation-climate models to test the idea that vegetation shifts in this region affect hydrologic processes and climates at scales ranging from local to global. Grassland/forest shifts, and associated differences in fire regimes, may also be useful as representations of the range of natural variability in biogeochemical cycling, particularly during the Holocene.

Woodcock, D. W. 1992. The rain on the plain: are there vegetation-climate feedbacks? Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (Global and Planetary Change Section), v. 97, p. 191-201.