Fire, competition and forest pests: landscape treatment to sustain ecosystem function
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): Geral I. McDonald; Alan E. Harvey; Jonalea R. Tonn
Editor(s): Leon F. Neuenschwander; Kevin C. Ryan; Greg E. Gollberg
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • Abies grandis
  • Abies lasiocarpa
  • Armillaria
  • bark
  • biomass
  • biotic communities
  • blister rust
  • carbon
  • catastrophic fires
  • climax vegetation
  • Clintonia uniflora
  • community ecology
  • competition
  • computer programs
  • coniferous forests
  • conifers
  • Cronartium ribicola
  • cutting
  • decomposition
  • distribution
  • disturbance
  • duff
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire regimes
  • fire resistant plants
  • forbs
  • forest management
  • fuel arrangement
  • fungi
  • genetics
  • habitat types
  • habitat types
  • herbaceous vegetation
  • Idaho
  • insects
  • JFSP - Joint Fire Science Program
  • ladder fuels
  • landscape ecology
  • Larix occidentalis
  • lichens
  • light
  • mammals
  • moisture
  • montane forests
  • Oregon
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • Picea engelmannii
  • Pinus albicaulis
  • Pinus contorta
  • Pinus edulis
  • Pinus monophylla
  • Pinus monticola
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • Polystichum munitum
  • precipitation
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • root rot
  • roots
  • shrubs
  • snags
  • soil moisture
  • soil temperature
  • soils
  • subalpine forests
  • succession
  • temperature
  • thinning
  • topography
  • Tsuga heterophylla
  • Washington
  • water
  • western white pine
  • wildlife habitat management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: September 15, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 44211
Tall Timbers Record Number: 19537
TTRS Location Status: In-file
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.


Fire, competition for light and water, and native forest pests have interacted for millennia in western forests to produce a countryside dominated by seral species of conifers. These conifer-dominated ecosystems exist in six kinds of biotic communities. We divided one of these communities, the Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Forest, into 31 subseries based on the ability of shrubs and forbs to predict soil-moisture regimes and conifers to predict soil-temperature regimes. This classification facilitated correlation of fire regimes, ecophysiological theory; and genetic theory to create an analytical framework for assessing ecological change. Using this tool we assessed likely ecologic impacts resulting from the introduction of white pine blister rust. Because large-scale disturbance, fire and cutting, have been greatly reduced in western ecosystems most heavily impacted by blister rust, their restoration will require large-scale replacement of the role of fire. Reduced net primary productivity is a natural consequence of forest succession. As forests age, photosynthetic and water use efficiencies decline, while decomposition in the standing biomass increases. Most forests reach a point where carbon release exceeds carbon sequestration -- the 'pathologic rotation.' Effective management of these forces will require exact knowledge, ecosystem by ecosystem, of resource availability and system processing efficiencies. Using the classification presented, theories of competition, ecophysiology, genetics and pest behavior can be combined to examine site-specific ecosystem behavior. Finally, a preliminary plan to achieve process sustainability is presented.

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (784 KB; pdf)
McDonald, G. I., A. E. Harvey, and J. R. Tonn. 2000. Fire, competition and forest pests: landscape treatment to sustain ecosystem function. Pages 195-211 in Neuenschwander, L. F., K. C. Ryan, and G. E. Gollberg (editors), Joint Fire Science Conference and Workshop Proceedings: 'Crossing the Millennium: Integrating Spatial Technologies and Ecological Principles for a New Age in Fire Management', June 15-17, 1999, The Grove Hotel, Boise, Idaho; Volume II. Moscow, ID and Fairfield, WA, University of Idaho and the International Association of Wildland Fire. 312 p.