When the forest burns: making sense of fire history west of the Cascades.Author(s): Sally Duncan
Source: Science Findings. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. September (46): 1-5
Publication Series: Science Findings
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionIt is widely accepted that wildfire has been part of the Douglas-fir region for millennia, but the variations across space and time in frequency, severity, pattern, and influence of native people are poorly understood. With wildfire raging every summer across parts of the West, interest is growing in the roles of fire in ecosystems, the possible use of fire and fuels management, and the use of fire history in landscape management.
This Science Findings synthesizes the results of several tree-ring-based fire history studies carried out independently over the past two decades in a north south transect along the Cascade Range and an east-west transect across the Oregon Coast and Cascade Ranges.
The work has involved cooperation among forest ecologists, climatologists, and geomorphologists to consider interactions of geophysical and biotic phenomena. Revealing the importance of fire and other disturbance agents in native forests of the region underpins the notion that absence of disturbance, including suppression of both fires and cutting, will create unnatural, and in some cases hazardous, forest conditions.
In short, forest disturbance is compatible with objectives of protecting ecosystems. But the questions are, how much disturbance, and of what types? History has some suggestions.
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CitationDuncan, Sally. 2002. When the forest burns: making sense of fire history west of the Cascades. Science Findings. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. September (46): 1-5
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