• Save
Fire ecology of big sur; March 2011
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Fire ecology of big sur; March 2011

on

  • 392 views

Slide talk given by Les Rowntree at Morro Bay Natural History Museum, March 2011

Slide talk given by Les Rowntree at Morro Bay Natural History Museum, March 2011

Statistics

Views

Total Views
392
Views on SlideShare
392
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Apple Keynote

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n

Fire ecology of big sur; March 2011 Fire ecology of big sur; March 2011 Presentation Transcript

  • The Fire Ecology of Big Sur and the Central Coast Ranges Les Rowntree Morro Bay Natural History Museum March 21, 2011
  • Today’s TalkBig Sur OverviewResources for FireEcologyFire Ecology 101: 4important pointsFire History (the last20,000 years)The 2008 Big SurBasin Complex Fire
  • Vegetation Communities of Big SurMicro-climate Chamise chaparralgradients: Bothelevation and coast Coastal redwoodsto inland Mixed redwoods andCentral Coast Scrub hardwoodsMaritime chaparral Other conifers (both pine and fir)Coast Rangegrasslands Oak woodlands
  • Reference Point: The Basin Complex Fire,June 21 - July 27 2008 inversion with fog layer below
  • University of California Press
  • $5.00 (Free to Members)VOL. 35, NO. 4 • FALL 2007FREMONTIAJOURNAL OF THE CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY SPECIAL ISSUE: CHAPARRAL CALIFORNIA CHAPARRAL MANZANITAS FREEZING AND CHAPARRAL PATTERNS CHAPARRAL AND FIRE CHAPARRAL BULBS AND FIRE THE COST OF LIVING WITH CHAPARRAL POST-FIRE RECOVERY OF CHAPARRAL IN SAN DIEGO VOLUME 35:4, FALL 2007
  • Heyday Press
  • photo by David McNew
  • Fire Ecology 101 (1)A wide range of plant and plantcommunity responses to fire: Fire Dependent: plants need fire to reproduce (knobcone and Bishop pines) Fire Enhanced: plants expand population with fire, but also reproduce without it (oaks) Fire Neutral: fires neither expand or limit plant populations (Douglas fir) Fire Inhibited: fire is detrimental to plants (Santa Lucia fire)
  • mature seed tree7-year old Bishop pine seedlings
  • Fire Ecology 101 (2)Plants and plant populations are adaptednot to fire itself but, instead, to fireregimes A fire regime is the frequency, magnitude, spatial extent, and seasonality of a series of fires Magnitude is intensity (amount of energy released) and severity (impact on the ecosystem
  • Fire Ecology 101 (3a)Fire affects individual plants directlyand indirectly Direct effects on the individual are a function of fire behavior and individual plant’s morphology and physiology Morphology refers to plant structure (shape, height, placement of seeds and buds, root structure) Physiology refers to production and regulation of chemicals within plant tissue
  • Fire Ecology 101 (3b)Indirect effects are the changes in thephysical and chemical environment of thesurrounding environment in terms ofnutrients, light, soil substrate andchemistry, and microclimate of the plantcommunity. These changes can differentially affect sprouting, growth, colonization, and establishment of varied species
  • colonization, and establishment of varied speciesThesechanges can differentially affect sprouting, growth, colonization,and Fire Ecology 101 (4a) of Seeding and sprouting are the main ways plants and trees recover from (and, through time, adapt to) fire Some species such as chamise actually do both, spread seed AND root sprout Additionally, within the chaparral community, some species of the two major genera, Arctostaphylos and Ceanothus, spread seeds while other species root sprout Redwoods also both seed and/or sprout after a fire
  • chamise seedlings and stump sproutingmanzanita, Lick Fire (Lee Dittman photos)
  • Chaparral Seeders Lose WhileSprouters Gain When Fire FrequencyIncreases (4b) Although chaparral is thought of as a fire enhanced community, it can suffer and actually diminish as fire regimes change Shrubs dependent on fire-cued seed germination were most sensitive to frequent fire and lost substantial cover to other functional types, including drought- deciduous sub-shrubs that typify coastal sage scrub and nonnative annual grasses. (Keeley) Seed banks needing a certain amount of time to age in the soil before they can germinate. Chaparral seeds don’t respond to heat itself but rather to gasses in smoke. That may be true of other seeders too
  • Changing Fire RegimesEnd of Pleistocene (Ice Age) andbefore humans, 20 - 12,000 bp.Period of “natural fire”Early to late Holocene, 12,000 bp to1769; period of Native AmericanburningModern historical period, fromSpanish missions to present day
  • - 20,000 bp. Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) - Dry summer Mediterranean climate - Sea level ~ 400 ft lower - All plant species represented, but inart by Laura Cunningham different configurations and with different distributions - No humans in CA (as far as we know) - Lightning and volcanoes only source of ignition
  • Period of Native AmericanBurning, 12,000 bp - 1769 CEClimate warms (withsome fluctuations) tocurrent stateWarmest period 8 -3 kyaSea level rises to currentstate ~ 4000 bpGrazing megafaunaextinct (change ingrasslands?)
  • Period of Native AmericanBurning, 12,000 bp - 1769 CE How and what do we know about Indian burning? Danger of conflating what little we know into all-encompassing generalizations Native Americans cultures changed continually during this long period of time, thus reasonable to assume their strategies and methods of burning also changed
  • Period of Native AmericanBurning, 12,000 bp - 1769 CE Reasons for burning: encourage specific plant species; eliminate competiting species; clean up the landscape by ridding it of pests, brush, and snags; fire used to expand grassland habitat for hunted animal and bird species; enhance fertility by recycling nutrients; encourage acorn growth and harvest, etc. Result: pyrodiversity from frequent low intensity fires Environments most changed: grassland/shrub interface; oak woodlands; perhaps chaparral
  • Effects of Indian Burning on Big SurThree groups: Ohlone; Esselen; SalinanCurrently, earliest dates for Big Sur ~5000 bpInferences about settlement patternsand densityConjecture regarding effects on plantcommunities vegetation communities
  • Spanish Mission Period, 1769-1830Introduction oflivestock and fieldcrops to Coast RangesExotic annual grassesDisruption of NativeAmerican societyBan on Indian burning,1793
  • Effects of Spanish Settlement on Big SurNative Americans closeto San Antonio andCarmel missions mosteffectedPossibility of remnantgroups of Indians in theBig Sur interiorEffect on plantcommunities? Grasslandchange begins. Oakwoodlands and animals
  • Mexican Rancho Period, 1830-1850Burning resumes withpasture-improvementmentalityLivestock expands withhide and talloweconomyCommon that NativeAmericans act as laborforce with cattle herds
  • Mexican Rancho Period, 1830-1850Early Americansettlers appear,logging redwoods,harvesting tanoak,making charcoal foriron forgesAll of these activitiesincrease incidence offire in Coast Rangesand enhance grasslandspecies change
  • Early American Period, 1850-1906Might have been periodof greatest burning inCoast RangesAnd also greatest changein plant communitieswith exotic speciesspreading rapidly in grassand shrub lands, aided byfire and plowed fieldsSheep, cattle, and wheatcultures all burned grassand shrub lands The wild and wooly West
  • Logging in Coast Range Also Responsible for Burning, Intentional and AccidentalFires set to clear slash away,facilitate transport of logs,and open forest for tanbarkharvesting
  • Effects in Big SurBig Sur isolated with only connections via ship, coastal trail toMonterey, and southern connection to Salinas ValleySome redwood loggingWheat cultivation on northern marine terraces (Palo Colorado)May not have been much free range livestock because oftopographyEarliest settlers had different attitudes about using fire to clearpastureLarge fires recorded in newspapers. In 1894, reports of a fire“burning for weeks” covering upper watersheds of centralSanta Lucia mountains. Around 50,000 acres burned inhuman-caused fire in July 1903, and 150,000 acres in 1906
  • Fire Prevention and SuppressionBegins in the Coast Ranges, 19061906, Monterey and San Luis Obispo forest reservescreated. These became national forests in 1907 1919, merger of Monterey, SLO, and Santa Barbara national forests into SBNF 1938, name changed to Los Padres NFAlthough fire prevention and suppression are policy,question is whether this was effective right awayIf so, the incidence of fires lessened, and fuel buildupbegins. Or did happen only later?
  • Changes to NF fire prevention in the1930s: • Trucks replace horses Work begun on N-F road and Highway 1 in 1931 • Lookout system 3 in Big Sur area of LPNF • CCC labor for prevention and suppression • Argument can be made that effective fire suppression only began in 1930s
  • Changing Fire Regimes in Big SurAccording to USFSrecords, the averagefigure for acreageburned changed from6700 acres in pre-waryears to 400 acres inthe 1960sDid this lead to a fuelbuild up that fueledmore recent largefires?
  • Recent Big Sur Fires2008, Basin-Indians 1977, Marble-Cone.Complex. (162,818 + 178,000 acres81,378 acres) 1970, Buckeye.1999, Kirk Complex. 60,000 acres87,000 acres (lightning-ignited)1985, Rat Creek-Gorda. 80,000 acres
  • The Basin Complex Fire, June 21 - July 27, 2008photo by Erichttps://picasaweb.google.com/eneitzel/BasinComplex#
  • Basin Complex FireCalifornia lightning event produced 6000ground strikes, resulting in 1000 fires innorthern CAEarly in the fire seasonFollowed two years of drought thatresulted in dry fuel throughout Big SurChanging wind and humidity conditionsduring month of fire
  • map of two fires, Gallery and Basin, 4 days intothe event
  • Fire retardant and watersheds(and steelhead)
  • Rizzo Lab,UC Davis
  • SOD did not increase intensity in allplots; canopy vs ground fires
  • September 2, 2008 and April 6, 2009
  • September 2, 2008 and June 6, 2009 Bottchers Gap
  • September 2, 2008 and May 5, 2009
  • September2008 April 2009
  • June 2010
  • June 2010
  • April 2009
  • Fuelbreaks and firelines