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Bringing Fire Back: The Changing Regimes of the Appalachian Mixed-Oak Forests

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Since vegetative associations stabilized about 4,000 years ago, the Appalachian mixed-oak forests have experienced three profoundly different fire regimes. Periodic, low-intensity surface fires lit by American Indians characterized the first regime, and this regime helped perpetuate oak as one of the dominant species groups. The Industrial Revolution led to high-intensity, stand-replacing fires, causing extensive damage to the forests. Modern fire protection created a “no-fire” regime that permitted the forests to recover but allowed mesophytic species to begin replacing the oaks. Today, research is under way to identify how to reintroduce fire to solve this oak replacement problem.

Keywords: environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; oak regeneration; pre-European settlement; wildfire

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: research silviculturist USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Irvine, PA, 16329, 2: research forester USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Parsons, West Virginia 3: professor Department of Forest Resources, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 4: director of forest fire protection Bureau of Forestry, Penn-sylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg

Publication date: November 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
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