Fire exclusion as a disturbance in the temperate forests of the USA: Examples from longleaf pine forests
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): W. Keith Moser; Dale D. Wade
Publication Year: 2005

Cataloging Information

  • disturbance
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire exclusion
  • fire management
  • fire policy
  • fire suppression
  • forest management
  • fuel accumulation
  • lodgepole pine
  • longleaf pine
  • old growth forest
  • pine forests
  • Pinus contorta
  • Pinus palustris
  • Pinus pungens
  • serotiny
  • SFP - Southern Fire Portal
  • sprouting
  • stand characteristics
  • stand dynamics
  • suppression
  • Table Mountain pine
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 4733
Tall Timbers Record Number: 28178
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
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.


Forest fires are a disturbance where the effects can range from benign to extreme devastation within a given ecosystem. The stage of stand development coupled with prior management dictates the amount and composition of potential fuels. Thus, fire policy exerts a strong influence on fire effects. Changes in cultural acceptance and use of tire typically drive fire policy. This linkage is perhaps exemplified by America's 300 year love/hate relationship with this powerful natural force. This article uses the four stages of stand development (stand iniriation, stem exclusion, understory reinitiation and old-growth), as described by Oliver and Larson (1996), to present opportunities and constraints to fire use, and management options are suggested. Using a selective review of research in the USA that emphasizes the longleaf pine ecosystem in the south-east, the focus is on three themes presented from the viewpoint of a resource manager trying to attain a specific result. Fh, some high points in the history of fire in America and its ecological nunifications on the landscape are outlined, using examples to illustrate key concepts of behavior, intensity and periodicity. Secondly, examples are given of how people have sought to exclude fire from the landscape, often with disastrous consequences. Thirdly, the topic of prescribed fire in an ecosystem maintenance and restoration role is touched on. Some challenges associated with reintroducing fire into areas where past fire policy dictated its exclusion are also related.

Online Link(s):
Moser, W. Keith; Wade, Dale D. 2005. Fire exclusion as a disturbance in the temperate forests of the USA: Examples from longleaf pine forests. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 20(6):17-26.