Table of Contents

Fire Ecology
Volume 7, Issue 1 - 2011
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701

About the Cover


Special Issue: 4th International Fire Congress: Fire as a Global Process

Authors: Francisco Seijo, Robert W. Gray, and Sandra Rideout-Hanzak
Pages: 1-4
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701001

Debates about the scale, ecological effects, and motivations of pre-scientific anthropogenic burning have been present since the inception of the scientific study of landscape fires as the following quotations show. Local communities have in many places burned the land for centuries. Because many of these communities were part of larger cultural systems in which there was either no opportunity, reason, or desire to transmit knowledge through writing, much of their traditional ecological knowledge remained diffuse, embedded in oral tradition, ritual, or other forms of cultural or symbolic communication alien to the scientific mindset.

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Forum: Issues, Management, Policy, and Opinionss

Australia - A Model System for the Development of Pyrogeography

Authors: David M.J.S. Bowman and Brett P. Murphy
Pages: 5-12
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701005

We define pyrogeography as an integrative, multidisciplinary perspective of landscape fire, its ecological effects, and its relationships with human societies. Like biogeography, this program spans geographic scales from the local to the global, has an evolutionary frame, and thus a geological dimension. And, like other geographic disciplines, pyrogeography has a clear commitment to understanding the interrelationships between cultures and their environment.

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Speculations about the Effects of Fire and Lava Flows on Human Evolution

Author: Michael J. Medler
Pages: 13-23
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701013

Recent research argues that an association with fire, stretching back millions of years, played a central role in human evolution resulting in many modern human adaptations. Others argue that hominin evolution was driven by the roughness of topographic features that resulted from tectonic activity in the African Rift valley. I combine these hypotheses to propose that, for millions of years, active lava flows in the African Rift provided consistent but isolated sources of fire, providing very specific adaptive pressures and opportunities to small isolated groups of hominins.

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The Use of Fire in the Cerrado and Amazonian Rainforests of Brazil: Past and Present

Author: Vânia R. Pivello
Pages: 24-39
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701024

Humans have been changing the natural fire regimes in most Brazilian vegetation types for over 4000 years. Natural lightning fires can easily happen in savannas and grasslands, but they are rare in the moist rainforests. Today, anthropogenic fires are frequent in both the fire-adapted cerrado (Brazilian savanna) and the fire-sensitive rainforest. In this paper, I compare two very different biomes concerning their susceptibilities and responses to fire: the Amazon rainforest and the cerrado.

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The Present Status of Fire Ecology, Traditional Use of Fire, and Fire Management in Mexico and Central America

Authors: Dante Arturo Rodríguez-Trejo, Pedro Arturo Martínez-Hernández, Hector Ortiz-Contla, Manuel Román Chavarría-Sánchez, and Faustino Hernández-Santiago
Pages: 40-56
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701040

Traditionally, forest fires in Mexico, the Caribe, and Central America have been perceived, by both urban and some rural societies and government agencies, only as destructive phenomena. Certainly 40 % of forest fires originate from agricultural and pastoral practices. However, there are many native rural communities that make a refined use of fire, harmonizing food production and care for the environment.

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Personal Perspectives on Commercial Versus Communal African Fire Paradigms when Using Fire to Manage Rangelands for Domestic Livestock and Wildlife in Southern and East African Ecosystems

Author: Winston S.W. Trollope
Pages: 57-73
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701057

Africa is often referred to as the Fire Continent, and fire is recognised as a natural factor of the environment due to the prevalence of lightning storms and an ideal fire climate in the less arid regions with seasonal drought. On a global scale, the most extensive areas of tropical savanna, characterized by a grassy under stories that become extremely flammable during the dry season, occur in Africa. The use of fire in Africa to manage vegetation for domestic livestock and indigenous wildlife is widely recognized by both commercial and communal land users.

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Burning at the Edge: Integrating Biophysical and Eco-Cultural Fire Processes in Canada’s Parks and Protected Areas

Authors: Clifford A. White, Daniel D.B. Perrakis, Victor G. Kafka, and Timothy Ennis
Pages: 74-106
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701074

Currently, high intensity, large-area lightning fires that burn during droughts dominate Canada’s fire regimes. However, studies from several disciplines clearly show that humans historically ignited burns within this matrix of large fires. Two approaches for fire research and management have arisen from this pattern: a “large-fire biophysical paradigm” related to lightning-ignited fires, and an “eco-cultural paradigm” related to human-caused burning. Working at the edge between biophysically driven fires and eco-cultural burns, and their associated management and research paradigms, presents unique challenges to land managers.

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Your Fire Management Career - Make It Count!

Author: Dale D. Wade
Pages: 107-122
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701107

This paper is an expansion of the thoughts I presented in the closing plenary at the 4th International Fire Ecology and Management Conference in Savannah, Georgia, USA. After ruminating over several days of oral presentations and posters and chatting with attendees, I concluded: 1) scientists are still wrestling with the same fundamental problems they have been for decades, 2) managers are increasingly skeptical of the proliferation of models because they don't provide reliable predictions in a timely fashion, and, 3) competitors for airspace in which to release combustion products have become much more adept at convincing regulators to tighten the screws on prescribed fire instead of on their industries.

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