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 Fire and Ecosystem Effects Interactions

How do annual area burned and fire size relate to species composition, non-natives, and structure?

Continued warming could transform Greater Yellowstone fire regimes by mid-21st Century

The authors suggest that a shift toward a novel fire-climate-vegetation relationship as the increase in fire frequency becomes incompatible with the persistence of the current vegetation in the region.

Citation:
Westerling, Anthony L.; Turner, Monica G.; Smithwick, Erica A.H.; Romme, William H.; Ryan, Michael G. 2011. Continued warming could transform Greater Yellowstone fire regimes by mid-21st Century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108(32):13165-13170.

Does it make sense to restore wildland fire in changing climate?

Fire will continue to play an important role in shaping future forests affected by climate change. Forest restoration based on historical reference conditions is consistent with resilience to the changing climate and an increase in fire. 

Citation:
Fulé, Peter Z. 2008. Does it make sense to restore wildland fire in changing climate? Restoration Ecology 16(4):526-531.

Fire history of pinyon-juniper woodlands at upper ecotones with ponderosa pine forests in Arizona and New Mexico

The authors found that fires within the ponderosa pine stands did not spread to the adjacent pinyon-juniper woodland. Historically, fire in pinyon-juniper was typically severe and stand-replacing, but limited in size with fire return intervals of 300 to 400 years. This has resulted in numerous small patches of same-aged pinyon stands.

Citation:
Huffman, David W.; Fulé, Peter Z.; Pearson, Kristen M.; Crouse, Joseph E. 2008. Fire history of pinyon-juniper woodlands at upper ecotones with ponderosa pine forests in Arizona and New Mexico. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38(8):2097-2108.

Spatial and temporal patterns of wildfires in the Mojave Desert, 1980-2004

For the middle elevation and, less so, the lower elevations of the Mojave desert, the increase in area and continuity of non-native grasses after wet years increased the average size of fires during those years. However, there was no significant increasing trend in annual area burned in the Mojave desert despite earlier literature of more limited time periods finding an increasing trend.

Citation:
Brooks, Matthew L.; Matchett, J.R. 2006. Spatial and temporal patterns of wildfires in the Mojave desert, 1980-2004. Journal of Arid Environments 67(Supplement):148-164.