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Title: Devil's in the details: Using archaeological and historical data to refine ecosystem models at the local level

Author: Hann, Don;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 505-513

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

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

Description: The United States Forest Service is charged with managing extensive and varied ecosystems throughout the country. Under the rubric of “ecosystem management” the goal has been to provide goods and services from Forest Service lands while maintaining ecological integrity. Recognizing that ecosystems are dynamic in nature, the concept of Historical Range of Variability (HRV) has been developed to capture the range of conditions expected within ecosystems. Over the last fifteen years extensive wildfires have occurred in many parts of the western United States at a scale that has rarely been equaled during the last century. Based on the assumption that the severity of many of these fires was amplified by unnaturally high fuel loads caused by decades of fire exclusion, a program of altering forest structure on the landscape scale has been proposed. In order to implement this policy at the scale required to have a meaningful effect on wildfire behavior, the Forest Service relies on a series of increasingly sophisticated computer models. These models allow managers to quantify and visualize the effects of various restoration actions, or inaction, on wildfire behavior. Although they are extremely useful tools, there are inherent limitations to models when implementing actions in the real world. Gaps in data and the simplification of complex natural processes are obscured during modeling. A variety of plant and animal macrofossils recovered in archaeological contexts and historical data from journals, newspapers, survey notes and photographs can provide critical information concerning the HRV of specific ecosystems. Use of local archaeological and historical data can be invaluable in refining large-scale models to more accurately reflect local ecological conditions. This paper examines the types of data available in the southern Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon and provides examples of the use of these data in ecosystem planning on the Malheur National Forest.

Keywords: monitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, archaeological and historical data, Historical Range of Variability (HRV)

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
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Hann, Don 2006. Devil''s in the details: Using archaeological and historical data to refine ecosystem models at the local level. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 505-513

 


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