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Fire in the Sierra NevadaAuthor(s): Carl N. Skinner; Scott L. Stephens
Source: In: Murphy, Dennis D. and Stine, Peter A., editors. Proceedings of the Sierra Nevada Science Symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-193. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 65-68
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionFire has been described as both a major ecological force necessary for long-term functioning of Sierra Nevada ecosystems and as one of the greatest threats to human and natural resources (SNEP 1996a). Fire has shaped the terrestrial ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada for millennia. Before the mid-1800s, fires generally were frequent and mostly of low to moderate intensity, from lower-elevation blue oak woodlands through upper-montane red fir forests (Skinner and Chang 1996). Modern fire regimes are highly altered from their historical character because of the combined effects of fire exclusion, logging, grazing, forest clearing, urbanization, and climate change. These highly altered fire regimes have fostered changing ecosystems, including commonly discussed increases in vegetation density and accumulation of detritus (fuel for fires) that support more high-intensity fires than occurred under historical conditions (Chang 1996; McKelvey and Busse 1996; McKelvey and others 1996; Skinner and Chang 1996).
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CitationSkinner, Carl N.; Stephens, Scott L. 2004. Fire in the Sierra Nevada. In: Murphy, Dennis D. and Stine, Peter A., editors. Proceedings of the Sierra Nevada Science Symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-193. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 65-68
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