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The enigmatic fire regime of coast redwood forests and why it mattersAuthor(s): J. Morgan Varner; Erik S. Jules
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-258. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 15-18
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (285.0 KB)
DescriptionOf perhaps all forests in North America, the fire regime of coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) is most enigmatic. Widely considered a temperate rainforest, a large number of fire history studies depict a forest dominated by frequent surface fire regimes. Coast redwood also has a long list of traits that allow it to persist and dominate under such a chronic fire regime: thick bark, flammable litter, ability to resprout, and rapid pruning. Determining how redwood fire regimes functioned is a major question for restoration and conservation efforts. The origins of frequent fires in redwood fire history studies is often assigned to Native American land uses, with little attention to lightning or the region’s fire-prone adjacent ecosystems. Results from the few fires studied in the region suggest that we have much to learn from science and management perspectives about how fire behaves, its effects, and the elements of its enigmatic fire regime.
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CitationVarner, J. Morgan; Jules, Erik S. 2017. The enigmatic fire regime of coast redwood forests and why it matters. In: Standiford, Richard B.; Valachovic, Yana, tech cords. Coast redwood science symposium—2016: Past successes and future direction. Proceedings of a workshop. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-258. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 15-18.
Keywordsfire-adapted traits, fire history, lightning, Native American fire use, Sequoia sempervirens
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