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Title: Returning fire to the mountains: can we successfully restore the ecological role of pre-Euroamerican fire regimes to the Sierra Nevada?

Author: Caprio, Anthony C.; Graber, David M.;

Date: 2000

Source: In: Cole, David N.; McCool, Stephen F.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. 2000. Wilderness science in a time of change conference-Volume 5: Wilderness ecosystems, threats, and management; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-5. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 233-241

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: This paper examines the resultant conditions of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park’s burn program relative to knowledge about past fire regimes in this ecosystem. Estimates of past fire-return intervals provide management direction and were used to develop approximations of area burned prior to Euroamerican settlement. This information was used to develop simple methods to compare fire management achievements against historic benchmarks. Two analyses were used to evaluate the results of the burn program relative to pre-settlement conditions. These were a reconstruction of annual “area burned” within major vegetation classes and an analysis of “fire return-interval departures” (FRID), with and without management fires, over the past 30 years. Given the current information base about fire regimes, the “area burned” analysis indicated the burn program continues to fall behind, relative to forest change, while the FRID analysis suggested the program has had a substantial impact on areas with the greatest ecological need for burning.

Keywords: wilderness, fire regimes, prescribed burning, fire return intervals (FRI), Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, California

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Caprio, Anthony C.; Graber, David M. 2000. Returning fire to the mountains: can we successfully restore the ecological role of pre-Euroamerican fire regimes to the Sierra Nevada?. In: Cole, David N.; McCool, Stephen F.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. 2000. Wilderness science in a time of change conference-Volume 5: Wilderness ecosystems, threats, and management; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-5. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 233-241

 


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