This chapter describes the ecology of important disturbance regimes in the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USFS) Northern Region and the Greater Yellowstone Area, hereafter called the Northern Rockies region, and potential shifts in these regimes as a consequence of observed and projected climate change. The term disturbance regime describes the general temporal and spatial characteristics of a disturbance agent - insect, disease, fire, weather, even human activity - and the effects of that agent on the landscape (table 8.1). More specifically, a disturbance regime is the cumulative effect of multiple disturbance events over space and time (Keane 2013). Disturbances disrupt an ecosystem, community, or population structure and change elements of the biological environment, physical environment, or both (White and Pickett 1985). The resulting shifting mosaic of diverse ecological patterns and structures in turn affects future patterns of disturbance, in a reciprocal, linked relationship that shapes the fundamental character of landscapes and ecosystems. Disturbance creates and maintains biological diversity in the form of shifting, heterogeneous mosaics of diverse communities and habitats across a landscape (McKinney and Drake 1998), and biodiversity is generally highest when disturbance is neither too rare nor too frequent on the landscape (Grime 1973).