Multiscale perspectives of fire, climate and humans in western North America and the Jemez Mountains, USA
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Thomas W. Swetnam; Josh Farella; Christopher I. Roos; Matthew J. Liebmann; Donald A. Falk; Craig D. Allen
Publication Year: 2016

Cataloging Information

  • archaeology
  • coniferous forests
  • dendrochronology
  • dendrochronology
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • grazing
  • histories
  • land use
  • Land Uses
  • livestock
  • mountains
  • Native Americans
  • New Mexico
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • ponderosa pine
  • ponderosa pine forest
  • population density
  • Pueblo People
  • range management
  • surface fires
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: April 10, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 55036
Tall Timbers Record Number: 32933
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
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.


Interannual climate variations have been important drivers of wildfire occurrence in ponderosa pine forests across western North America for at least 400 years, but at finer scales of mountain ranges and landscapes human land uses sometimes over-rode climate influences. We reconstruct and analyse effects of high human population densities in forests of the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico from ca 1300 CE to Present. Prior to the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, human land uses reduced the occurrence of widespread fires while simultaneously adding more ignitions resulting in many small-extent fires. During the 18th and 19th centuries, wet/dry oscillations and their effects on fuels dynamics controlled widespread fire occurrence. In the late 19th century, intensive livestock grazing disrupted fuels continuity and fire spread and then active fire suppression maintained the absence of widespread surface fires during most of the 20th century. The abundance and continuity of fuels is the most important controlling variable in fire regimes of these semi-arid forests. Reduction of widespread fires owing to reduction of fuel continuity emerges as a hallmark of extensive human impacts on past forests and fire regimes. This article is part of the themed issue 'The interaction of fire and mankind'. © 2016 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

Online Link(s):
Swetnam, T. W., J. Farella, C. I. Roos, M. J. Liebmann, D. A. Falk, and C. D. Allen. 2016. Multiscale perspectives of fire, climate and humans in western North America and the Jemez Mountains, USA. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, v. 371, no. 1696, p. 50168. 10.1098/rstb.2015.0168.