From the text ... 'In this chapter we examine the history of fire and its ecological consequences along one of the world's most striking vegetation gradients -- the west-to-east replacement of Andean rain forests by the northern Patagonian steppe at ca. 40°S latitude, Argentina. Fire has played a major role in the structural pattern of this landscape. In this chapter we emphasize the roles of humans in altering fire regimes, and the interaction between landsape patterns and fire behavior. We stress the profound and long-lasting impacts on the landscape of short periods of exceptional rates of burning associated with human activities, droughts, and fuel changes related to the life cycle of dominant understory plants (bamboos).' © 2003 Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. All rights reserved.