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Fire Ecology, 2014
Volume 10, Issue 3

Historical Pyrogeography of Texas, USA
Authors: Michael C. Stambaugh, Jeffrey C. Sparks, and E.R. Abadir
Pages: 72-89
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.1003072

Synthesis of multiple sources of fire history information increases the power and reliability of fire regime characterization. Fire regime characterization is critical for assessing fire risk, identifying climate change impacts, understanding ecosystem processes, and developing policies and objectives for fire management. For these reasons, we conducted a literature review and spatial analysis of historical fire intervals in Texas, USA, a state with diverse fire environments and significant fire-related challenges. Limited literature describing historical fire regimes exists and few studies have quantitatively assessed the historical frequency of wildland fire. Written accounts provided anecdotal fire information that is spatially and temporally constrained. Three spatial datasets depicting historic mean fire intervals (MFIs) showed agreement in that the majority of Texas consisted of frequent fire regimes (MFIs = 1 yr to 12 yr), and that a gradient of decreasing fire return intervals existed from west to east. Much potential likely exists for acquiring fire history data in the Piney Woods region, the Oak Woods and Prairies region, and the mountain ranges of the Trans Pecos region. These data will be valuable for improving fire regime characterization to guide fire planning and budget processes, for the restoration and maintenance of fire-adapted landscapes, and for informing fire prevention and education activities.

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