[Excerpted from the introduction to the issue] When national parks were originally establishde in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s, most people thought you simply needed to protect them as they were, with nochanges over time, to achieve the objective of preserving parks for future generations. While this may work for cultural resources, we have learned that changes in vegetation, wildlife, and other natural features are part of the way natural ecosystems function. The original, somewhat simplistic, and static concept of "park preservation" has since been expanded into a broader concept of perpetuating natural park resources and natural park processes over time. Only in this way can the National Park Service (NPS) and other agencies with responsibilities for protected areas really succeed in restoring, maintaining, protecting, and preserving the resources and resource values for which the parks and protected areas were established.
In this issue of The George Wright Forum, we present several articles that address how "fire management" in parks has evolved during the 89 years since the 1916 establishment of the National Park Service. While many aspects could be considered, we will focus on changes in the accepted role of fire in parks, and the relationship between fire management, forest health, and biodiversity.
List of articles:
- Fire Management in Parks and Protected Areas: Introduction and Summary - Bruce M. Kilgore
- Fire in the Parks: A Case Study for Change Management - Norman L. Christensen
- The Wildland Fire Challenge: Protecting Communities and Restoring Ecosystems - Gregory H. Aplet and Bo Wilmer
- Forest Health and Fire in the National Parks: Workshop Summary - Norman L. Christensen
- Fire, Forest Health, and Biodiversity: A Summary of the Proceedings of the Second Annual Symposium of the National Commission on Science and Sustainable Forestry - Norman L. Christensen
- Federal Forest Fire Policy in the United States - Scott L. Stephens and Lawrence W. Ruth
- Fire, Ecosystems, and People: A Preliminary Assessment of Fire as a Global Conservation Issue Jeff Hardesty, Ron Myers, and Wendy Fulks