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Forest fire and climate change in western North America: insights from sediment charcoal records.

Author(s):

Daniel G Gavin
Douglas J Hallett
Feng Sheng Hu
Kenneth P Lertzman
Susan J Prichard
Kendrick J Brown
Jason A Lynch
Patrick Bartlein

Year:

2007

Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Source:

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 5(9): 499-506

Description

Millennial-scale records of forest fire provide important baseline information for ecosystem management, especially in regions with too few recent fires to describe the historical range of variability. Charcoal records from lake sediments and soil profiles are well suited for reconstructing the incidence of past fire and its relationship to changing climate and vegetation. We highlight several records from western North America and their relevance in reconstructing historical forest dynamics, fire-climate relationships, and feedbacks between vegetation and fire under climate change. Climatic effects on fire regimes are evident in many regions, but comparisons of paleo-fire records sometimes show a lack of synchrony, indicating that local factors substantially affect fire occurrence, even over long periods. Furthermore, the specific impacts of vegetation change on fire regimes differ among regions with different vegetation histories. By documenting the effects on fire patterns of major changes in climate and vegetation, paleo-fire records can be used to test the mechanistic models required for the prediction of future variations in fire.

Citation

Gavin, Daniel G,; Hallett, Douglas J,; Hu, Feng Sheng,; Lertzman, Kenneth P; Prichard, Susan J,; Brown, Kendrick J,; Lynch, Jason A,; Bartlein, Patrick,; Peterson, David L. 2007. Forest fire and climate change in western North America: insights from sediment charcoal records. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 5(9): 499-506

Publication Notes

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/29317