Table of Contents

Fire Ecology
Volume 5, Issue 1 - 2009
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501

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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
Pages: 1-2
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501001

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.

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Research Articles

Spatially and Temporally Variable Fire Regime on Rincon Peak, Arizona, USA

Authors: Jose M. Iniguez, Thomas W. Swetnam, and Christopher H. Baisan
Pages: 3-21
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501003

Spatial and temporal patterns of fire history are affected by factors such as topography, vegetation, and climate. It is unclear, however, how these factors influenced fire history patterns in small isolated forests, such as that found on Rincon Peak, a “sky island” mountain range in southern Arizona, USA. We reconstructed the fire history of Rincon Peak to evaluate the influences of broad-scale (i.e., climate) versus local-scale (i.e., topographic) factors on fire occurrence and extent.

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Smoke-cued Emergence in Plant Species of Ponderosa Pine Forests: Contrasting Greenhouse and Field Results

Author: Scott R. Abella
Pages: 22-37
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501022

Smoke-cued seed germination and emergence is common in some frequent-fire ecosystems, but this process is little studied in frequent-fire conifer forests of the southwestern United States. To assess whether aqueous smoke promotes plant emergence in frequent-fire ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests in northern Arizona, I conducted three experiments at different scales (seed, seed bank, and plant community) in both greenhouse and field settings. In the first greenhouse experiment, aqueous smoke significantly increased (P < 0.05) emergence of seeds of 13 % of 61 assayed species.

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Post-wildfire Recovery of Riparian Vegetation during a Period of Water Scarcity in the Southwestern USA

Authors: D. Max Smith, Deborah M. Finch, Christian Gunning, Roy Jemison, and Jeffrey F. Kelly
Pages: 38-55
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501038

Wildland fires occur with increasing frequency in southwestern riparian forests, yet little is known about the effects of fire on populations of native and exotic vegetation. From 2003 to 2006, we monitored recovering woody vegetation in wildfire sites in the bosque (riparian forest) along the Middle Rio Grande of central New Mexico, USA. To examine recovery potential, we estimated densities of native Rio Grande cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. wislizenii) and exotic saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) in burned plots and estimated mortality rates of resprouts.

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Do Plant Invasions Change the Effects of Fire on Animals?

Authors: Robert J. Steidl and Andrea R. Litt
Pages: 56-66
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501056

Fire and invasions by nonnative plants can change the structure and function of ecosystems, and independent effects of each of these processes have been well studied. When fire is restored to areas where it has been excluded and the native plant communities have been invaded by nonnative species, changes in vegetation structure and composition are likely to alter the fire regime. These changes, in turn, might alter the effects of fire on wildlife and wildlife habitat.

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Predicted Fire Behavior and Societal Benefits in Three Eastern Sierra Nevada Vegetation Types

Authors: Christopher A. Dicus, Kenneth Delfino, and David R. Weise
Pages: 67-78
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501067

We investigated potential fire behavior and various societal benefits (air pollution removal, carbon sequestration, and carbon storage) provided by woodlands of pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla) and juniper (Juniperus californica), shrublands of Great Basin sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa), and recently burned annual grasslands near a wildland-urban interface (WUI) community in the high desert of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.

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A Short Communication: A 43-year Evaluation of a Prescribed Fire: An Arizona Case Study

Authors: Peter F. Ffolliott, Cody L. Stropki, and Aaron T. Kauffman
Pages: 79-84
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501079

We evaluated the effects of a prescribed fire in a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest intermittently over 43 years. Changing climatic (precipitation) conditions spanned this evaluation with a sequential pattern of annual precipitation regimes above average, average, and below average (drought conditions) encompassed. The original objective of the fire to consume three-fourths of the litter and duff layers to reduce the water-holding capacities of these layers was initially met.

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Private-public Collaboration to Reintroduce Fire Into the Changing Ecosystems of the Southwestern Borderlands Region

Authors: Gerald J. Gottfried, Larry S. Allen, Peter L. Warren, Bill McDonald, Ronald J. Bemis, and Carleton B. Edminster
Pages: 85-99
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501085

Fires caused by lightning or Native Americans were the major ecological factor in the borderlands region of Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico prior to European settlement. Historical overgrazing and aggressive fire suppression have led to the encroachment of woody vegetation and accumulations of woody fuels in these grasslands. Ranchers associated with the Malpai Borderlands Group, state and federal land managers, and the staff of The Nature Conservancy agreed that re-introducing fire could improve landscape productivity and biological diversity.

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Evaluating the Ecological Sustainability of a Ponderosa Pine Ecosystem on the Kaibab Plateau in Northern Arizona

Authors: Reuben Weisz, Jack Triepke, and Russ Truman
Pages: 100-114
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501100

This paper describes a process to evaluate the ecological sustainability of fire-adapted ecosystems, using a case study based on ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests. We evaluated ecological sustainability by: 1) using reference conditions and models to describe the historical range of natural variability; 2) using recent remote sensing-based mid-scale mapping of existing vegetation to describe current conditions; and 3) retooling the reference condition models to incorporate current natural and anthropogenic processes to project future conditions of ecosystems.

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Emergency Post-fire Rehabilitation Treatment Effects on Burned Area Ecology and Long-term Restoration

Authors: Peter R. Robichaud, Sarah A. Lewis, Robert E. Brown, and Louise E. Ashmun
Pages: 115-127
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501115

The predicted continuation of strong drying and warming trends in the southwestern United States underlies the associated prediction of increased frequency, area, and severity of wildfires in the coming years. As a result, the management of wildfires and fire effects on public lands will continue to be a major land management priority for the foreseeable future. Following fire suppression, the first land management process to occur on burned public lands is the rapid assessment and emergency treatment recommendations provided by the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team.

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Post-Wildland fire Desertification: Can Rehabilitation Treatments Make a Difference?

Author: Daniel G. Neary
Page: 129
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0501129

Desertification, caused by land degradation as opposed to the immediate creation of classical deserts, is of prime concern in the 21st century. As a result of human activities and climate change, the land loses its proper hydrologic function and biological productivity. Desertification affects 33 % of the earth’s surface and over a billion people. Fire-related desertification has a number of environmental, social, and economic consequences. The two key environmental consequences are soil erosion and non-native plant invasions.

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