Jan W. van Wagtendonk

Contact Info

Research Forester Emeritus
Yosemite National Park
PO Box 700
Portal , CA 95318-0700 , United States

Publications in Fire Ecology

Welcome by the President of the Association for Fire Ecology
Page: 1
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0101001

Welcome to the first issue of Fire Ecology, the Journal of the Association for Fire Ecology. Why another new journal? That is the same question we were asked when we founded the Association over four years ago, and the answer is the same. Other societies and their journals usually cover a broad spectrum of interests and topics focused in a general area such as ecology or forestry. While other journals might address fire science, its physical basis, and means to suppress it, no journal specifically deals with the ecology of fire. We feel that the science of fire ecology fills an empty niche.

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Long-Term Surface Fuel Accumulation in Burned and Unburned Mixed-Conifer Forests of the Central and Southern Sierra Nevada, CA USA
Pages: 53-72
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0201053

After nearly a century of fire exclusion in many central and southern Sierra Nevada mixedconifer forests, dead and down surface fuels have reached high levels without the recurring fires that consume the accumulated organic matter. The effects of prescribed fires used to reduce fuel loads and restore fire have been monitored in Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks for over 30 years. Ten years following prescribed fire treatments in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, mean total fuel loads accumulated to 84 percent of pre-fire levels in ponderosa pine forests, 83 percent in white fir-mixed conifer, and 66 percent in giant sequoia-mixed conifer forests.  [Read More]

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Pages: 1-2
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0301001

Fire is a primary change agent in many terrestrial ecosystems. Appreciation is growing for the essential role fire plays in fire-adapted ecosystems. Nevertheless, humans living in the wildland urban interface (WUI) understandably regard fires as a threat to their safety, their property, or the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which they depend. As land development has expanded into the WUI, so has the demand for better spatial information regarding fire danger and fire effects, both short- and long-term.  [Read More]

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The History and Evolution of Wildland Fire Use
Pages: 3-17
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0302003

Wildland fire use as a concept had its origin when humans first gained the ability to suppress fires. Some fires were suppressed and others were allowed to burn based on human values and objectives. Native Americans and Euro-American settlers fought those fires that threatened their villages and settlements but left others to burn unabated. Even with the advent of a fire suppression capability in the late 1880s, control efforts were focused on areas of human development while fires in remote areas were largely ignored.  [Read More]

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Fire Regime Attributes of Wildland Fires in Yosemite National Park, USA
Pages: 34-52
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0302034

Past attempts to suppress all fires in some western forests have altered historic fire regimes. Accumulated debris and dense understories of shade tolerant species coupled with a warmer climate have led to catastrophic wildfires. Prescribed fires and wildland fire use fires are used by land managers to reduce fuels and restore natural conditions. Little is known about how wildfires, prescribed fires, and wildland fire use fires differ in their fire regime attributes.  [Read More]

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Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Lightning Strikes in California in Relation To Large-scale Weather Patterns
Pages: 34-56
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0401034

The temporal and spatial distribution of lightning strikes varies across California and has a differential effect on lightning fire ignitions. We analyzed 16 years of lightning strike data obtained from the National Lightning Detection Network to determine how the distribution of lightning strikes was affected by geography, topography, and large-scale weather patterns.  [Read More]

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Modeling the Effects of Fire Severity and Spatial Complexity on Small Mammals in Yosemite National Park, California
Pages: 83-104
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0402083

We evaluated the impact of fire severity and related spatial and vegetative parameters on small mammal populations in 2 yr- to 15 yr-old burns in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. We also developed habitat models that would predict small mammal responses to fires of differing severity. We hypothesized that fire severity would influence the abundances of small mammals through changes in vegetation composition, structure, and spatial habitat complexity.  [Read More]

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Message from the Editor
Page: 1
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0702001

When I took over as managing editor of Fire Ecology five years ago from Michael Medler, he stated in his message from the editor that a beginning is a very delicate time. That beginning has blossomed, and we feel that Fire Ecology is well on its way to becoming the journal of choice for fire ecologists to share their findings and explore new ideas. In the past seven volumes, there have been 15 issues, 119 articles, and over 360 authors. These authors hail from 13 countries from five continents and represent the state of the science in their areas. Fire Ecology is now indexed by SCOPUS, and we expect a decision on our application for indexing by Thomson Reuters (ISI) Web of Knowledge by the end of the year.  [Read More]

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Fire Frequency, Area Burned, and Severity: A Quantitative Approach to Defining a Normal Fire Year
Pages: 51-65
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0702051

Fire frequency, area burned, and fire severity are important attributes of a fire regime, but few studies have quantified the interrelationships among them in evaluating a fire year. Although area burned is often used to summarize a fire season, burned area may not be well correlated with either the number or ecological effect of fires. Using the Landsat data archive, we examined all 148 wildland fires (prescribed fires and wildfires) >40 ha from 1984 through 2009 for the portion of the Sierra Nevada centered on Yosemite National Park, California, USA.   [Read More]

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Burn Severity and Non-Native Species in Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Pages: 145-149
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0702145

We examined non-native species density three years after the Tuolumne Fire, which burned 1540 ha in upper montane forest in California, USA. We sampled 60 plots, stratified by burn severity (low, moderate, or high severity) and landscape position (lowland or upland). We detected non-native species in 8 of 11 (73 %) of high severity lowland sites and in 5 of 10 (50 %) of moderate severity lowland sites but, overall, richness and abundance was low.  [Read More]

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Prairie Fire: A Great Plains History
Page: 122
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0703122

In his notes on the jacket cover of Julie Courtwright’s book, Prairie Fire: A Great Plains History, Stephen Pyne writes, “For too long the Great Plains have been a flyover region of American fire history. Thanks to Courtwright’s detailed and admirable work, they can now move from missing middle back to the center.” Certainly, this book has made a major contribution to understanding the role fire plays in the ecology of the Great Plains. Not only does Courtwright establish the importance of fire to the region, but she makes the case that fire, wildlife, and humans have interacted over millennia to perpetuate the grasslands of the plains.  [Read More]

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Factors Associated with the Severity of Intersecting Fires in Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Pages: 11-31
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0801011

In 1972, Yosemite National Park established a wilderness fire zone in which lightning fires were allowed to run their courses under prescribed conditions.  This zone was expanded in 1973 to include the 16 209 ha Illilouette Creek basin, just to the southeast of Yosemite Valley.  From 1973 through 2011, there have been 157 fires in the basin.  [Read More]

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