Fire Suppression And Its Effects On The American Northeast

1551 WordsOct 16, 20167 Pages
For most of the 20th century active fire exclusion was the rule in the American southwest. Previous to suppression policies, ponderosa pine and dry mixed-conifer forests experienced a frequent, low- to mixed-severity fire regime (Agee 1996, Allen et al. 2002). As a result of a century of fire suppression, successional trajectories have been significantly altered, in that ponderosa pine and dry mixed-conifer forests have become increasingly dense with late successional, non-fire-adapted trees and excess accumulations of surface fuels (Parsons and Debenedetti 1979, Higgens et al., 2015). Despite efforts to aggressively suppress fires, several large, severe wildfires have occurred throughout the southwest in recent decades. Post-fire,…show more content…
Hence, larger patches of high-severity fire may decrease forest resilience or result in unfamiliar successional trajectories. The questions facing managers is how will these severely burned areas recover in an era of changing climate? Will forest structure and vegetation be permanently altered? In areas where past high-severity fires have burned, recent large fires have struck again, further complicating stand recovery and adding another challenge for land managers; thus, we will need greater insight as to how, and if, high-severity burned areas can continually recover (Seager and Vecchi 2010). Improved understanding of the processes of successional changes in mixed-conifer forests will help facilitate management efforts to sustain the many resources valued in these ecosystems (Meng, 2015). Though many studies of post-fire succession exist, due to methodological constraints at the temporal scale, many studies are limited to either long-term (Abella et al. 2015, O 'Connor et al. 2014, Odion et al., 2014) succession or short-term (Higgens et al. 2014, Keeling et al. 2006, Mast & Wolf 2006) successional studies or monitoring permanent plots for successive years (Moore et al. 2004). We propose to quantify a space-for-time sequence of successional trajectories across the greater landscape of the Coconino National Forests area. This approach assumes the only difference between sites is due to age; however, because forest stands vary due to environmental and management
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