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Ecological effects of prescribed fire season: a literature review and synthesis for managersAuthor(s): Eric E. Knapp; Becky L. Estes; Carl N. Skinner
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-224. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 80 p
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionPrescribed burning may be conducted at times of the year when fires were infrequent historically, leading to concerns about potential adverse effects on vegetation and wildlife. Historical and prescribed fire regimes for different regions in the continental United States were compared and literature on season of prescribed burning synthesized. In regions and vegetation types where considerable differences in fuel consumption exist among burning seasons, the effects of prescribed fire season appears, for many ecological variables, to be driven more by fire-intensity differences among seasons than by phenology or growth stage of organisms at the time of fire. Where fuel consumption differs little among burning seasons, the effect of phenology or growth stage of organisms is often more apparent, presumably because it is not overwhelmed by fire-intensity differences. Most species in ecosystems that evolved with fire appear to be resilient to one or few out-of-season prescribed burn(s). However, a variable fire regime including prescribed burns at different times of the year may alleviate the potential for undesired changes and maximize biodiversity.
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CitationKnapp, Eric E.; Estes, Becky L.; Skinner, Carl N. 2009. Ecological effects of prescribed fire season: a literature review and synthesis for managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-224. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 80 p.
KeywordsFire effects, fire intensity, fire season, fuel consumption, historical fire regime, phenology, prescribed fire, pyrodiversity
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- Tree mortality from fire and bark beetles following early and late season prescribed fires in a Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forest
- Limited effects of long-term repeated season and interval of prescribed burning on understory vegetation compositional trajectories and indicator species in ponderosa pine forests of Northeastern Oregon, USA
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