Full Citation: Fulé, Peter Z.; Covington, W. Wallace; Moore, Margaret M. 1997. Determining reference conditions for ecosystem management of southwestern ponderosa pine forests. Ecological Applications 7(3):895-908.
External Identifier(s): 10.1890/1051-0761(1997)007[0895:DRCFEM]2.0.CO;2 Digital Object Identifier
Location: Southwest, U.S.
Ecosystem types: Ponderosa pine forests
Southwest FireCLIME Keywords: None
FRAMES Keywords: ecological restoration, ecosystem management, fire regime, Pinus ponderosa, ponderosa pine, Arizona, presettlement forest reference conditions

Determining reference conditions for ecosystem management of southwestern ponderosa pine forests

Peter Z. Fulé, W. Wallace Covington, Margaret M. Moore


Summary - what did the authors do and why?

The authors reconstructed the fire regime and forest structure of a southwestern ponderosa pine forest prior to Euro-American settlement to determine a set of reference conditions as a baseline for ecosystem management.


Publication findings:

Historically, fire was highly synchronous across the region and appeared to be linked to climate conditions. The cessation of fire beginning around 1883 in these forests has led to an abundance of resprouting oak, a species typically highly susceptible to fire. In contrast to presettlement conditions, currently there is abundant fuel able to support high?intensity fire behavior, including torching through live fuel ladders and crown fire, in hot, dry, windy weather. However, herbaceous fuel loading is probably greatly reduced in the contemporary forest.

Climate and Fire Linkages

Historically, fire was highly synchronous across the region and appeared to be linked to climate conditions.

Historically, fire was highly synchronous across the region and appeared to be linked to climate conditions.

Fire and Ecosystem Effects Linkages

The cessation of fire beginning around 1883 in these forests has led to an abundance of resprouting oak, a species typically highly susceptible to fire.

In contrast to presettlement conditions, currently there is abundant fuel able to support high?intensity fire behavior, including torching through live fuel ladders and crown fire, in hot, dry, windy weather. However, herbaceous fuel loading is probably greatly reduced in the contemporary forest.