Skip to Main Content
An experimental evaluation of fire history reconstruction using dendrochronology in white oak (Quercus alba)Author(s): Ryan W. McEwan; Todd F. Hutchinson; Robert D. Ford; Brian C. McCarthy
Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37: 806-816.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (2.31 MB)
DescriptionDendrochronological analysis of fire scars on tree cross sections has been critically important for understanding historical fire regimes and has influenced forest management practices. Despite its value as a tool for understanding historical ecosystems, tree-ring-based fire history reconstruction has rarely been experimentally evaluated. To examine the efficacy of dendrochronological analysis for detecting fire occurrence in oak forests, we analyzed tree cross sections from sites in which prescribed fires had been recently conducted. The first fire in each treatment unit created a scar in at least one sample, but the overall percentage of samples containing scars in fire years was low (12%). We found that scars were created by 10 of the 15 prescribed fires, and the five undetected fires all occurred in sites where fire had occurred the previous year. Notably, several samples contained scars from known fire-free periods. In summary, our data suggest that tree-ring analysis is a generally effective tool for reconstructing historical fire regimes, although the following points of uncertainty were highlighted: (i) consecutive annual burns may not create fire scars and (ii) wounds that are morphologically indistinguishable from fire scars may originate from nonfire sources.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationMcEwan, Ryan W.; Hutchinson, Todd F.; Ford, Robert D.; McCarthy, Brian C. 2007. An experimental evaluation of fire history reconstruction using dendrochronology in white oak (Quercus alba). Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37: 806-816.
- Fire scar growth and closure rates in white oak (Quercus alba) and the implications for prescribed burning
- Fire Scars Negatively Affect Hydraulic Conductivity in White Oak (Quercus alba)
- Response of naturally regenerated and underplanted white oak (Quercus alba L.) seedlings 6 years following midstory removal
XML: View XML