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Title: Fire and fuels

Author: Collins, Brandon; Skinner, Carl;

Date: 2014

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-247. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 143-172. Chap. 4.1

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

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

Description: Recent studies of historical fire regimes indicate that fires occurring prior to Euro-American settlement were characterized by a high degree of spatial complexity that was driven by heterogeneity in vegetation/fuels and topography and influenced by variability in climate, which mediated the timing, effects, and extents of fires over time. Although there are many important lessons to learn from the past, we may not be able to rely completely on past forest conditions to provide us with blueprints for current and future forest management. Rather than attempting to achieve a particular forest structure or landscape composition that may have existed historically, restoring the primary process that shaped forests for millennia (i.e., fire) may be a prudent approach for hedging against uncertainties around maintenance of fire-adapted forests. This is not to suggest that all forms of fire would be appropriate in these forests. A more suitable goal, albeit a more difficult one, would be to restore the forest stand and landscape conditions that would allow fires to function in what is generally believed to be a more natural way.

Keywords: ecological restoration, socioecological systems, ecosystem resilience, forest planning, fire management, altered fire regimes, wildfire, climate change, anthropogenic disturbance, invasive species, water resources, species of conservation concern, California

Publication Notes:

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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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Citation:


Collins, B.M.; Skinner, C. 2014. Fire and fuels. In: Long, J.W.; Quinn-Davidson, L.; Skinner, C.N., eds. Science synthesis to support socioecological resilience in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade Range. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-247. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 143-172. Chap. 4.1.

 


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