Full Citation: Schoennagel, Tania; Veblen, Thomas T.; Romme, William H. 2004. The interaction of fire, fuels, and climate across Rocky Mountain forests. Bioscience 54(7):661-676.
External Identifier(s): 10.1641/0006-3568(2004)054[0661:TIOFFA]2.0.CO;2 Digital Object Identifier
Location: Rocky Mountains, U.S.
Ecosystem types: Ponderosa pine forest; Mixed-conifer forest; Spruce-fir forest
Southwest FireCLIME Keywords: None
FRAMES Keywords: Abies spp., Arizona, catastrophic fires, Colorado, coniferous forests, crown fires, distribution, fine fuels, fire case histories, fire frequency, fire hazard reduction, fire intensity, fire management, fire regimes, fire size, fire suppression, forest management, fuel accumulation, fuel management, fuel moisture, fuel types, GIS - geographic information system, grasses, Idaho, leaves, litter, Montana, mortality, New Mexico, Picea, pine forests, Pinus contorta, Pinus ponderosa, Pseudotsuga menziesii, rate of spread, subalpine forests, thinning, Utah, wildfires, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, forest health, Healthy Forests Restoration Act, fire suppression effects, fuel reduction

The interaction of fire, fuels, and climate across Rocky Mountain forests

Tania L. Schoennagel, Thomas T. Veblen, William H. Romme


Summary - what did the authors do and why?

This article is a synthesis of research on recent large fires and the effectiveness of fuel treatments across forest types within the Rocky Mountains.


Publication findings:

The authors summarized findings on high-severity fire regimes in subalpine forests and found that climatic variation is the predominant influence on fire frequency and severity in this ecosystem type and suggest that fuel reduction treatments would move stand structure away from its historical range of variability. For low severity fire regimes in low-elevation ponderosa pine forest, the authors found that fire frequency and severity were driven by the spatial and temporal variation of fine fuels more so than climate.

Climate and Fire Linkages

The authors summarized findings on high-severity fire regimes in subalpine forests and found that climatic variation is the predominant influence on fire frequency and severity in this ecosystem type and suggest that fuel reduction treatments would move stand structure away from its historical range of variability. For low severity fire regimes in low-elevation ponderosa pine forest, the authors found that fire frequency and severity were driven by the spatial and temporal variation of fine fuels more so than climate.

The authors summarized findings on high-severity fire regimes in subalpine forests and found that climatic variation is the predominant influence on fire frequency and severity in this ecosystem type and suggest that fuel reduction treatments would move stand structure away from its historical range of variability. For low severity fire regimes in low-elevation ponderosa pine forest, the authors found that fire frequency and severity were driven by the spatial and temporal variation of fine fuels more so than climate.

The authors summarized findings on high-severity fire regimes in subalpine forests and found that climatic variation is the predominant influence on fire frequency and severity in this ecosystem type and suggest that fuel reduction treatments would move stand structure away from its historical range of variability. For low severity fire regimes in low-elevation ponderosa pine forest, the authors found that fire frequency and severity were driven by the spatial and temporal variation of fine fuels more so than climate.

The authors summarized findings on high-severity fire regimes in subalpine forests and found that climatic variation is the predominant influence on fire frequency and severity in this ecosystem type and suggest that fuel reduction treatments would move stand structure away from its historical range of variability. For low severity fire regimes in low-elevation ponderosa pine forest, the authors found that fire frequency and severity were driven by the spatial and temporal variation of fine fuels more so than climate.