Wildfire and spatial patterns in forests in northwestern Mexico: the United States wishes it had similar fire problems
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): S. L. Stephens; D. L. Fry; E. Franco-Vizcaino
Publication Year: 2008

Cataloging Information

  • Abies concolor
  • Arctostaphylos patula
  • Baja California
  • bark
  • Calocedrus decurrens
  • char
  • coniferous forests
  • cover
  • crown scorch
  • crowns
  • Dendroctonus brevicomis
  • Dendroctonus jeffreyi
  • Dendroctonus valens
  • dominance (ecology)
  • fire case histories
  • fire exclusion
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire suppression
  • forest management
  • forest resistance
  • forest structure
  • ignition
  • Ips pini
  • Jeffrey pine
  • logging
  • Mexico
  • mixed conifer
  • mortality
  • mosaic
  • overstory
  • pine
  • Pinus jeffreyi
  • Pinus lambertiana
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • plant diseases
  • ponderosa pine
  • population density
  • Populus tremuloides
  • regeneration
  • regeneration
  • resilience
  • scorch
  • seedlings
  • shrubs
  • Sierra San Pedro Martir
  • spatial heterogeneity
  • stand characteristics
  • suppression
  • thinning
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 47696
Tall Timbers Record Number: 23677
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
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.


Knowledge of the ecological effect of wildfire is important to resource managers, especially from forests in which past anthropogenic influences, e.g., fire suppression and timber harvesting, have been limited. Changes to forest structure and regeneration patterns were documented in a relatively unique old-growth Jeffrey pine-mixed conifer forest in northwestern Mexico after a July 2003 wildfire. This forested area has never been harvested and fire suppression did not begin until the 1970s. Fire effects were moderate especially considering that the wildfire occurred at the end of a severe, multi-year (1999-2003) drought. Shrub consumption was an important factor in tree mortality and the dominance of Jeffrey pine increased after fire. The Baja California wildfire enhanced or maintained a patchy forest structure; similar spatial heterogeneity should be included in US forest restoration plans. Most US forest restoration plans include thinning from below to separate tree crowns and attain a narrow range for residual basal area/ha. This essentially produces uniform forest conditions over broad areas that are in strong contrast to the resilient forests in northern Baja California. In addition to producing more spatial heterogeneity in restoration plans of forests that once experienced frequent, low-moderate intensity fire regimes, increased use of US wildfire management options such as wildland fire use as well as appropriate management responses to non-natural ignitions could also be implemented at broader spatial scales to increase the amount of burning in western US forests. © 1969 by the authors. Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance.

Online Link(s):
Stephens, S. L., D. L. Fry, and E. Franco-Vizcaino. 2008. Wildfire and spatial patterns in forests in northwestern Mexico: the United States wishes it had similar fire problems. Ecology and Society, v. 13, no. 2, p. 10-12.