Fire Ecology, 2009
Volume 5, Issue 1
Special Issue: Fire in the Southwest: Integrating Fire Into Management of Changing Ecosystems
Authors: Carolyn H. Sieg, Peter Z. Fulé, Molly E. Hunter, Craig D. Allen, Matthew L. Brooks, and Randy Balice
Diverse fire regimes and contentious management issues coupled with continuing severe drought have presented southwestern land managers and fire scientists with daunting challenges. Recent and predicted changes in climate, fuels, and fire behavior are yielding unique management problems with few obvious solutions. Recent studies document that the southwest is experiencing and will likely continue to experience increased droughts and earlier and more severe fire seasons. Unprecedented human population growth, combined with expanding populations of some invasive plant species, provide additional challenges for land managers in the region.
This special edition includes research papers and forum articles that span both ecological and sociological aspects of managing fire in the southwest. The first paper, by Iniguez et al., explores the interacting roles of topography, vegetation, and climate in a “sky island” mountain range of southern Arizona. They provide evidence that the changes in fire regimes through time in this isolated mountain range were contingent on a combination of regional climate and local landscape factors.