The natural role of fire in northern conifer forests
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): M. L. Heinselman
Publication Year: 1970

Cataloging Information

  • Abies spp.
  • age classes
  • Betula
  • charcoal
  • climax vegetation
  • coniferous forests
  • Cupressaceae
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire adaptations (plants)
  • fire exclusion
  • fire frequency
  • fire regimes
  • fire scar analysis
  • histories
  • human caused fires
  • lightning caused fires
  • logging
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • national forests
  • old growth forests
  • overstory
  • Picea
  • Pinus resinosa
  • plant diseases
  • post fire recovery
  • prescribed fires (chance ignition)
  • reproduction
  • riparian habitats
  • succession
  • trees
  • US Forest Service
  • wetlands
  • wilderness areas
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 38908
Tall Timbers Record Number: 13529
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.32/2:R64 1970 and
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.


From the text 'The objective of my forest history studies is to determine the origin and ecological history of the virgin forests, and to relate their present status to the primeval situation. We have now deciphered this history for about the past 370 years. This was done by: (1) Checking available historical records, old maps, old government reports, and the General Land Office Survey notes; (2) obtaining the ages of thousands of overstory trees on some 900 study plots scattered across the entire virgin forest and some recently logged stands where remnants were present; (3) obtaining a fire chronology from old fire-scarred trees by counting annual rings from the cambium to the scars. This was done on wedges cut from the scars of more than 100 strategically located trees; (4) mapping forest age classes and fire boundaries throughout the area from these records with the aid of airphotos, forest type maps, and field checks; and (5) studying the age structure and time of reproduction by species in 30 stands scattered across the area.'

Heinselman, M. L. 1970. The natural role of fire in northern conifer forests, The Role of Fire in the Intermountain West. Missoula, MT. University of Montana, School of Forestry,[Missoula, MT]. p. 30-41,