Category: Ecological Research
Title: Fire History of a Mixed Conifer Forest on the Mogollon Rim, Northern Arizona, USA.
Author: * Huffman, D.W.
Subject: Mixed Conifer
Abstract: Mixed conifer forests ecosystems comprise about 4.2 million acres in the American Southwest. In general, it is thought that low-severity surface fires characterized natural fire regimes of southwestern warm/dry mixed conifer (Reynolds et al. 2013). However, mixed severity, comprised of both surface fire and high-severity patches, in the lower mixed conifer zone have been documented. Recently, Williams and Baker (2012) suggested that forest structural characteristics reconstructed from Public Land Survey records could be used to infer fire regimes, and concluded that large areas along the Mogollon Rim experienced historical high-severity fire. Our research questions were: 1) what was the historical frequency of surface fire at a Mogollon Rim site (Figure 1) near the landscape described in Williams and Baker (2012)?; 2) was there evidence of modern changes in fire regime?; and 3) was there evidence of high-severity or mixed-severity fire? To reconstruct the historical fire regime, we used complementary approaches of composite fire scar analysis, point fire interval analysis, natural fire rotation, and landscape analysis, and compared the results to develop a robust interpretation. To assess evidence of high-severity fire, we compared tree establishment dates with dates of widespread fires at the site level, and evaluated fine-scale patterns of tree ages and stump density relative to fire scarred trees.
Type: Fact Sheet
Source: ERI - Fact Sheet
Publisher: Ecological Restoration Institute