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Fire history, population, and calcium cycling in the current river watershedAuthor(s): Richard P. Guyette; Bruce E. Cutter
Source: In: Pallardy, Stephen G.; Cecich, Robert A.; Garrett, H. Gene; Johnson, Paul S., eds. Proceedings of the 11th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-188. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 354-372
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: North Central Research Station
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DescriptionQuantitative details about past anthropogenic fire regimes and their effects have been lacking in the central hardwood region. Here, we present fire scar chronologies from 23 oak-shortleaf pine (Quercus spp. and Pinus echinata Mill.) sites in the upper Current River watershed of the Missouri Ozarks. Dendrochronological methods were used to date 2,004 fire scars from 150 shortleaf pine sections with from 100 to more than 300 rings. Fire scar chronologies were constructed from scars dating back 200 to 400 years ago. The average mean fire-free intervals (MFI) calculated for the sites by time period are: the de-populated period, 1580-1700, MFI= 17.7 years; the Native American re-population period, 1701-1820, MFI= 12.4 years; and the Euro-American settlement period, 1821-1940, MFI=3.7 years. Fire frequency was more variable among and within sites during the Native American period (1701-1820) than during the period of Euro-American settlement (1821-1940). The percentage of sites burned annually before 1850 is correlated (r=0.87, p<0.05) with population density at the low levels (< 0.64 people per km²). The percentage of sites burned annually decreases about 20% from 1850 to 1940 and is negatively correlated (r=-0.40, p<0.01) with an increase in population density approaching 4.6 people per km². About 10 to 15% of the sites burned annually between 1700 and 1800 during a period of low (<0.4 people per km²) population density. The long-term effects of an anthropogenic fire regime on calcium availability are inferred from Ca concentrations in tree-rings. Calcium concentrations in dated heartwood increments of eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) for three sites in the watershed are correlated (r=0.82, p<0.05) over 340 years with changes in the frequency of anthropogenic fire. Trends in Al concentrations in redcedar heartwood are negatively correlated with the percent of sites burned (r=-0.70, p<0.05).
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CitationGuyette, Richard P.; Cutter, Bruce E. 1997. Fire history, population, and calcium cycling in the current river watershed. In: Pallardy, Stephen G.; Cecich, Robert A.; Garrett, H. Gene; Johnson, Paul S., eds. Proceedings of the 11th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-188. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 354-372
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