Table of Contents

Fire Ecology
Volume 6, Issue 2 - 2010
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602

About the Cover

Research Articles

Acute Physiological Stress and Mortality Following Fire in a Long-Unburned Longleaf Pine Ecosystem

Authors: Joseph J. OBrien, J. Kevin Hiers, R.J. Mitchell, J. Morgan Varner, and Kathryn Mordecai
Pages: 1-12
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602001

One important legacy of fire exclusion in ecosystems dependent upon frequent fire is the development of organic soil horizons (forest floor) that can be colonized by fine roots. When fire is re-introduced, the forest floor is often consumed by fire and heavy overstory mortality, often delayed by months, results. We hypothesized that the delayed post-fire tree mortality is a manifestation of a cascade of physiological stresses initiated by root damage that can also magnify the impact of other kinds of damage. We investigated the physiological impact of forest floor consumption on longleaf pines (Pinus palustris Mill.) subjected to a wildfire in 2005 in a long-unburned (> 50 years) forest by measuring forest floor consumption, whole tree water use, and leaf chlorophyll content.

View full abstract | View entire article (PDF)

Does Time Since Fire Explain Plant Biomass Allocation in the Florida, USA, Scrub Ecosystem?

Authors: Sonali Saha, Alessandro Catenazzi, and Eric S. Menges
Pages: 13-25
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602013

Although belowground biomass patterns are important in understanding aboveground responses, few studies have quantified how belowground biomass changes in response to fire cycles. In this study, we determined if patterns of time-since-fire (TSF; range 3 yr to 25 yr) affect belowground and aboveground biomass in scrubby flatwoods, a type of Florida, USA, scrub ecosystem. We also examined if plant groups (oaks, palmettos and all other species) show variation in biomass partitioning between belowground to aboveground biomass.

View full abstract | View entire article (PDF)

Bark Beetle Responses to Stand Structure and Prescribed Fire at Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest, California, USA: 5-Year Data

Authors: Christopher J. Fettig and Stephen R. McKelvey
Pages: 26-42
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602026

Highly effective fire suppression and selective harvesting of large-diameter, fire-tolerant tree species, such as ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa C. Lawson) and Jeffrey pine (P. jeffreyi Balf.), have resulted in substantial changes to the structure and composition of interior ponderosa pine forests. Mechanical thinning and the application of prescribed fire are now commonly used to reduce fuel loads and restore late-seral conditions in interior ponderosa pine forests, but the propensity for some bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) to attack fire-injured trees has led to questions regarding how management objectives may be impacted by levels of delayed tree mortality attributed to bark beetle attack. In this study, we examined bark beetle responses to creation of mid-seral (low structural diversity; LoD) and late-seral (high structural diversity; HiD) forest structures at Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest, California, USA, during a five-year period following the application of prescribed fire (B).

View full abstract | View entire article (PDF)

Indigenous Fire Use to Manage Savanna Landscapes in Southern Mozambique

Author: L. Jen Shaffer
Pages: 43-59
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602043

Prescribed burn regimes for protected areas in southern Africa are often based solely on modeling of historic data and onsite experimentation. Most rural communities in this region continue to rely on fire to manage natural resources for subsistence needs, yet relatively few detailed studies of local fire knowledge and practices exist. The long history of anthropogenic fire in southern Africa suggests that traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of fire could provide further insight into location-specific anthropogenic contributions to fire-savanna interactions. This study used an ethnographic approach to investigate how local people think about and manage fire as part of their daily activities in two rural communities in southern Mozambique.

View full abstract | View entire article (PDF)

Prescribed Fire and Post-Fire Seeding in Brush Masticated Oak-Chaparral: Consequences for Native and Non-Native Plants

Authors: Celeste T. Coulter, Darlene Southworth, and Paul E. Hosten
Pages: 60-75
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602060

In fire-suppressed oak-chaparral communities, land managers have treated thousands of hectares by mechanical mastication to reduce hazardous fuels in areas of wildland-urban interface. The chipped debris, which decomposes slowly, can be burned to minimize wildfire hazard. The question is whether controlled burning of masticated debris results in loss of native plant species richness and abundance, allowing for gains in non-native species. We examined the response of vegetation to the seasonality of prescribed fire and to post-fire seeding in mechanically masticated oak-chaparral communities in the Applegate Valley of southwestern Oregon, USA.

View full abstract | View entire article (PDF)    Appendices: Appendix I 

Does Fuels Management Accomplish Restoration in Southwest Oregon, USA, Chaparral? Insights from Age Structure

Authors: Olivia C. Duren and Patricia S. Muir
Pages: 76-96
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602076

Fuels management is often intended to both reduce fire hazard and restore ecosystems thought to be impacted by fire suppression. Objectives to reduce fire hazard, however, are not compatible with restoration in many vegetation types. Application of ecologically incompatible treatments to poorly understood ecosystems can drain management resources and contribute to ecosystem degradation. Extensive areas of chaparral on Bureau of Land Management lands in southwest Oregon, USA, are annually targeted for fuels treatment. However, the fire ecology of this ecosystem is not well understood and the assumptions guiding treatment need and design are based on extrapolations from other ecosystems. We studied patterns in age structure of two obligate-seeding chaparral shrubs, sticky whiteleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos viscida Parry) and buckbrush (Ceanothus cuneatus [Hook.] Nutt.) and assessed relationships with environment, fire, and potential livestock disturbance.

View full abstract | View entire article (PDF)

Using Fire History Data to Map Temporal Sequences of Fire Return Intervals and Seasons

Authors: Roy S. Wittkuhn and Tom Hamilton
Pages: 97-114
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602097

Analysis of complex spatio-temporal fire data is an important tool to assist the management and study of fire regimes. For fire ecologists, a useful visual aid to identify contrasting fire regimes is to map temporal sequences of data such as fire return intervals, seasons, and types (planned versus unplanned fire) across the landscape. However, most of the programs that map this information are costly and complex, requiring specialist training. We present a simple yet novel method for creating sequences of temporal data for mapping fire regimes using basic geographic information system (GIS) techniques and logical test functions in Microsoft Excel 2003 (Microsoft, Bellevue, Washington, USA). Using fire history data (1972 to 2005) for southwestern Australia, we assigned integer classifications to fire return intervals (short, moderate, and long) and fire types and seasons (wildfires and prescribed burns in different seasons) and joined the integer classifications together to form a sequence of numbers representing the order of either fire return intervals or fire seasons in reverse time sequence.

View full abstract | View entire article (PDF)

Book Review

Conducting Prescribed Fires: A Comprehensive Manual

Author: Brian P. Oswald
Page: 115
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0602115

With Conducting Prescribed Fires, John Weir makes a strong effort to fill a gap in our wildland fire management literature. With more than 700 prescribed burns over 20 years, Weir not only has experience in performing burns, but also has been able to identify what information would be most helpful to those with less experience. What I was initially expecting was a new version of the classic A Guide for Prescribed Fire in Southern Forests by Wade and Lunsford. What Weir has written is a more comprehensive text covering a variety of fire topics.

View full abstract | View entire article (PDF)