Title: Fire regimes, past and present
Author: Skinner, Carl N.; Chang, Chiru
Source: In: Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final report to Congress. Vol. II. Assessments and Scientific Basis for Management Options. Wildland Resources Center Report No. 37. Centers for Water and Wildland Resources, University of California, Davis. 1041-1069
Description: Fire has been an important ecosystem process in the Sierra Nevada for thousands of years. Before the area was settled in the 1850s, fires were generally frequent throughout much of the range. The frequency and severity of these fires varied spatially and temporally depending upon climate, elevation, topography, vegetation, edaphic conditions, and human cultural practices.
Current management strategies and those of the immediate past have contributed to forest conditions that encourage high-severity fires. The policy of excluding all fires has been successful in generally eliminating fires of low to moderate severity as a significant ecological process. However, current technology is not capable of eliminating the high-severity fires. Thus, the fires that affect significant portions of the landscape, which once varied considerably in severity, are now almost exclusively high-severity, large, stand replacing fires. The resulting landscape patterns are much coarser in grain.
Many gaps still exist in our knowledge of fire as an ecological process in the Sierra Nevada.
Keywords: fire ecology, fire history, fire regimes, Sierra Nevada, California
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Skinner, Carl N.; Chang, Chiru 1996. Fire regimes, past and present. In: Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final report to Congress. Vol. II. Assessments and Scientific Basis for Management Options. Wildland Resources Center Report No. 37. Centers for Water and Wildland Resources, University of California, Davis.: 1041-1069.
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