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Estimating the Historic Probability of Stand-Replacement Fire Using the Age-Class Distribution of Undisturbed Forest

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A simple probabilistic model for the destruction of forest stands by fire is used to determine a likelihood function for the problem of estimating the per annum probability of stand-replacement fire using data in the form of areas in various age classes of undisturbed old-growth forest. This enables the estimation of either an age-independent fire probability or of the parameters of a parametrically defined age-dependent probability. The model includes contagion effects (the probability of a stand burning being increased by other stands burning). Maximum likelihood is used to obtain estimates of the age-independent per annum probability of stand-replacement fire (or the parameters of an age-dependent model), along with a contagion parameter. Confidence intervals for the fire probability are also obtained. For. Sci. 40(1):104-119.

Keywords: Fire history; contagion; even-aged stands; fire cycle; maximum likelihood

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3045, Victoria, B.C. V8W 3P4

Publication date: February 1, 1994

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