Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Forest fires are a disturbance where the effects can range from benign to extreme devastation within a given ecosystem. The stage of stand development coupled with prior management dictates the amount and composition of potential fuels. Thus, fire policy exerts a strong influence on fire effects. Changes in cultural acceptance and use of tire typically drive fire policy. This linkage is perhaps exemplified by America's 300 year love/hate relationship with this powerful natural force. This article uses the four stages of stand development (stand iniriation, stem exclusion, understory reinitiation and old-growth), as described by Oliver and Larson (1996), to present opportunities and constraints to fire use, and management options are suggested. Using a selective review of research in the USA that emphasizes the longleaf pine ecosystem in the south-east, the focus is on three themes presented from the viewpoint of a resource manager trying to attain a specific result. Fh, some high points in the history of fire in America and its ecological nunifications on the landscape are outlined, using examples to illustrate key concepts of behavior, intensity and periodicity. Secondly, examples are given of how people have sought to exclude fire from the landscape, often with disastrous consequences. Thirdly, the topic of prescribed fire in an ecosystem maintenance and restoration role is touched on. Some challenges associated with reintroducing fire into areas where past fire policy dictated its exclusion are also related.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • 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.


    Moser, W. Keith; Wade, Dale D. 2005. Fire exclusion as a disturbance in the temperate forests of the USA: examples from longleaf pine forests. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, Vol. 20(Supp 6): 17-26


    Fire behavior, fire effects, fire policy, longleaf pine, restoration, stand dynamics, suppression

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page