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Ethnoecology of Fire: An Experimental Approach in the Ohio Valley

Author(s):

Erin B. Hines
Jan Salick
Todd F. Hutchinson
Steve Sutherland

Year:

2000

Publication type:

General Technical Report (GTR)

Primary Station(s):

Northern Research Station

Historical Station(s):

Northeastern Research Station

Source:

In: Yaussy, Daniel A., comp. 2000. Proceedings: workshop on fire, people, and the central hardwoods landscape; 2000 March 12-14; Richmond, KY. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-274. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station: 126.

Description

Native Americans used fire to manipulate nature and directly benefit their survival. Certain plant species, many of which were useful to Native Americans as sources of food, fiber, dye, medicine, and game browse, are adapted to survive and even thrive in post-burn environments. Evidence suggests that Native Americans intentionally set fires to encourage growth and survival of such useful species. Data from a 5-year study conducted by the U.S. Forest Service in Southeastern Ohio to track the long-term effects of prescribed fire on forest composition were used to track changes in useful plant abundance under certain fire regimes. Preliminary analyses of pre-burn data establish covariates between burn treatments and moisture indices. Split-plot block ANOVAs of the 1999 post-burn data suggest an increase in many fern and graminoid species, along with an increase in Vaccinium and early-successional tree species. The results from this study have implications for modern forest management and global conservation. Fire increases diversity in both botanical and zoological systems by initiating patches of early succession in plant communities, thus increasing resources available for ecosystem interactions and possible human use. By encouraging the growth of both timber and non-timber forest products, resource managers can move towards more multiple-use forest management.

Citation

Hines, Erin B.; Salick, Jan; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Hutchinson, Todd F.; Sutherland, Steve. 2000. Ethnoecology of Fire: An Experimental Approach in the Ohio Valley. In: Yaussy, Daniel A., comp. 2000. Proceedings: workshop on fire, people, and the central hardwoods landscape; 2000 March 12-14; Richmond, KY. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-274. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station: 126.

Publication Notes

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/23097