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Chapter 3: Large-Scale Patterns of Forest Fire Occurrence in the Conterminous United States and Alaska,2012

Informally Refereed
Authors: Kevin Potter
Year: 2015
Type: General Technical Report
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: In: Potter, Kevin M.; Conkling, Barbara L., eds. 2015. Forest health monitoring: national status, trends, and analysis 2013. General Technical Report SRS-207. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station.


Free-burning wildland fire has been a frequent ecological presence on the American landscape, and its expression has changed as new peoples and land uses have become predominant (Pyne 2010). As a pervasive disturbance agent operating at many spatial and temporal scales, wildland fire is a key abiotic factor affecting forest health both positively and negatively. In some ecosystems, wildland fires have been essential for regulating processes that maintain forest health despite causing extensive tree mortality (Lundquist and others 2011). Wildland fire, for example, is an important ecological mechanism that shapes the distributions of species, maintains the structure and function of fire-prone communities, and acts as a significant evolutionary force (Bond and Keeley 2005).

Parent Publication


Potter, Kevin M. 2013. Chapter 3: Large-Scale Patterns of Forest Fire Occurrence in the Conterminous UnitedStates and Alaska,2012 General Technical Report SRS 207. USDA-Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 17 p.