Archeological and historical basis for forest succession in eastern North America
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): E. Buckner
Publication Year: 1983

Cataloging Information

  • archaeological sites
  • cones
  • coniferous forests
  • disturbance
  • European settlement
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • hardwood forests
  • Larix laricina
  • Native Americans
  • paleoecology
  • paleontology
  • Picea glauca
  • pine forests
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Pinus pungens
  • population density
  • presettlement fires
  • serotiny
  • South Carolina
  • succession
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 5, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 39957
Tall Timbers Record Number: 14689
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-S
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, 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 meaning of 'natural' as a guideline for managing public forests is questioned. Evidence of a rapidly shifting flora over eastern North America in recent geologic time is presented along with historical evidence of the open character of the eastern landscape at the time of European settlement. Widespread and frequent burning by pre-Columbian Indians is suggested as the primary cause. This condition of the early landscapes of this region contrasts with the "closed forest” model generally used as a guide for recapturing the "natural” landscapes of pre-Columbian time. A modified strategy to maintain greater diversity in these landscapes is suggested. From the text...'A better understanding and appreciation of the role of disturbance - fire in particular, in shaping the character of eastern forests is needed for developing more acceptable long-term management guidelines for the forests of eastern North America. This will result in less passive management strategies that will maintain the full range of seral conditions for each of the various site-situations found in a region. Such strategies should result in a much closer approximation of 'natural' conditions.'

Buckner, E. 1983. Archeological and historical basis for forest succession in eastern North America, Proceedings of the 1982 Society of American Foresters Annual Convention, 19-22 September 1982, Cincinnati, OH. Society of American Foresters,Washington, DC. p. 182-187,