PALEO-FIRE CLIMATOLOGYPhotograph: Kurt Schierenbeck
Main methods used to reconstruct fire history              from tree rings           Fire scars           Tree and forest s...
Photograph: Tom SwetnamSequoia fire scars
Photograph: Tom SwetnamPinus sylvestris tree rings and fire scars, Siberia
ExtensiveFire evidence         Limited                    Low     Moderate       High                          Fire intens...
ExtensiveFire evidence         Limited    No scars                    No trees                       Low       Moderate   ...
Spatial scales of fire history studiesSwetnam, T. W. and C. H. Baisan. 1996. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report R...
Spatial scales of fire history studies                                                                                     ...
Spatial scales of fire history studies                                                                                     ...
Spatial scales of fire history studies                                                                                     ...
Spatial scales of fire history studies            Regional                                                                 ...
1ONEFIRE AMONG THE GIANTS
h p://esp.cr.usgs.gov/data/atlas/li le/
Photograph: Byron Hetrick
Photograph: Kai Schreiber
“   ... public concern led to a temporary suspension of                                                                   ...
Photograph: Ma hew Fern
Photograph: Tom SwetnamJulio Betancourt   Tom Swetnam
Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009                                             ?
?                    At what frequency, seasonality, and extent did                    surface fires formerly burn within t...
?                    At what frequency, seasonality, and extent did                    surface fires formerly burn within t...
?                    At what frequency, seasonality, and extent did                    surface fires formerly burn within t...
Source: Tom Swetnam
Photograph: Miguel Viera
“ And see this ring right here, Jimmy? ...                                             ” That’s another time when the old ...
Source: Swetnam et al., 2009
Photograph: J. Dieterich
Photograph: J. Dieterich
Photograph: Henri Grissino-Mayer
Photograph: Tom Swetnam
Photograph: Tom SwetnamTom Swetnam and Chris Baisan sampling eye socket fire scars at Big Stump, Kings Canyon NP
Source: Tom Swetnam
Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
Fire interval   =    Number of years                    between fire events
Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
“   The earliest fire date recorded by a growth release was in    181 B.C.E., and the earliest fire scar date was in 56 B.C....
Fire frequency   =   Number of fire events                      per 50-year period
Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
“   However, these distributions provide only relativistic    estimates of fire free intervals (or fire frequencies)    with...
Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
By 1890, NM had more than 5 million sheep in 1.5 million ca le.
Photograph: Charles Kaiser
“   Fire scars, other tree-ring indicators, and charcoal in    wet meadow sediments from the Giant Forest and             ...
“   The most recent century and a half (since circa 1860 C.E.)                                                            ...
2   TWO    NORTHERN FIRES
Photograph: Kurt Schierenbeck
ExtensiveFire evidence         Limited    No scars                    No trees                       Low       Moderate   ...
Miron ‘Bud’ Heinselman
“Remaining virgin forest of the BWCA” Heinselman, 1973
“   We have long known that fire was a factor in the ecology    of the Great Lakes conifer forests, but an ecosystem    vie...
280-yr red pine stand near Ramshead Lake Heinselman, 1973
Inferred area burned Heinselman, 1973
“   A natural fire rotation of about 100 yr prevailed in    prese lement times, but many red and white pine stands    remai...
3   THREE    FIRE AND CLIMATE
“   Very broadscale synchrony (at  >104   km 2 scales) is    typically related to climate variability affecting the    co-o...
Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
Cook et al., 2007, Earth Science Reviews
Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
SUPERPOSED                                            EPOCH                                           ANALYSISReference: B...
Superposed Epoch Analysis is used to illustrate        the sequence of environmental changes        that usually precede a...
time                                                wet                        wet                  wet                   ...
Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
Fire year                          PDSI = -1.7Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
Fire year -1                         PDSI = +0.2                  Fire year                          PDSI = -1.7Source: Sw...
Fire year -3                         PDSI = +0.5                Fire year -1                         PDSI = +0.2          ...
Fire year -3                         PDSI = +0.5                Fire year -1                         PDSI = +0.2          ...
Average          Palmer Drought          Severity IndexSource: Swetnam and Betancourt, Journal of Climate, 1998
Average          Palmer Drought          Severity IndexSource: Swetnam and Betancourt, Journal of Climate, 1998
“   Results of SEA from the Southwest regional data confirm    that, on average, the larger fire years occurred during    dr...
“   Interestingly, SEA also o en shows that there were    significant lagging relationships in climate/ecosystem    dynamic...
ReadingSwetnam et al. (2009), Multi-millennial fire historyof the Giant Forest, Sequoia National Park,California, USA. Fire...
International Multiproxy Paleofire Database
Source: Emily Heyerdahl and Don Falk
Exercise!Use the North American Drought Atlas to explorethe spatial pa erns of droughts associated withextensive regional ...
Source: Kurt Kipfmueller
Exercise!Due April 19
GEOG3839.17, Paleo-fire climatology
GEOG3839.17, Paleo-fire climatology
GEOG3839.17, Paleo-fire climatology
GEOG3839.17, Paleo-fire climatology
GEOG3839.17, Paleo-fire climatology
GEOG3839.17, Paleo-fire climatology
GEOG3839.17, Paleo-fire climatology
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GEOG3839.17, Paleo-fire climatology

  1. 1. PALEO-FIRE CLIMATOLOGYPhotograph: Kurt Schierenbeck
  2. 2. Main methods used to reconstruct fire history from tree rings Fire scars Tree and forest stand ages Tree mortality dates Ring-width growth changes Combinations of evidence
  3. 3. Photograph: Tom SwetnamSequoia fire scars
  4. 4. Photograph: Tom SwetnamPinus sylvestris tree rings and fire scars, Siberia
  5. 5. ExtensiveFire evidence Limited Low Moderate High Fire intensity
  6. 6. ExtensiveFire evidence Limited No scars No trees Low Moderate High Fire intensity
  7. 7. Spatial scales of fire history studiesSwetnam, T. W. and C. H. Baisan. 1996. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report RM-GTR-286.
  8. 8. Spatial scales of fire history studies Very fine scale, local pa erns that Tree determine first scar (and later scars)Swetnam, T. W. and C. H. Baisan. 1996. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report RM-GTR-286.
  9. 9. Spatial scales of fire history studies Fine-scale vegetation, fuels, wind, Stand microclimateSwetnam, T. W. and C. H. Baisan. 1996. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report RM-GTR-286.
  10. 10. Spatial scales of fire history studies Topographic and elevation effects on Watershed fire spreadSwetnam, T. W. and C. H. Baisan. 1996. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report RM-GTR-286.
  11. 11. Spatial scales of fire history studies Regional Climate, broad-scale human land useSwetnam, T. W. and C. H. Baisan. 1996. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report RM-GTR-286.
  12. 12. 1ONEFIRE AMONG THE GIANTS
  13. 13. h p://esp.cr.usgs.gov/data/atlas/li le/
  14. 14. Photograph: Byron Hetrick
  15. 15. Photograph: Kai Schreiber
  16. 16. “ ... public concern led to a temporary suspension of ” the prescribed fire program, a review by a panel of scientists, and a call for more detailed fire history studies in the groves. Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  17. 17. Photograph: Ma hew Fern
  18. 18. Photograph: Tom SwetnamJulio Betancourt Tom Swetnam
  19. 19. Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009 ?
  20. 20. ? At what frequency, seasonality, and extent did surface fires formerly burn within the Giant Forest?Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  21. 21. ? At what frequency, seasonality, and extent did surface fires formerly burn within the Giant Forest? What role did climate variations play in determining these fire regime characteristics?Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  22. 22. ? At what frequency, seasonality, and extent did surface fires formerly burn within the Giant Forest? What role did climate variations play in determining these fire regime characteristics? Given the fire and climate history of the past 3000 years, what lessons and insights might we draw from this history as a guide to present and future fire management?Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  23. 23. Source: Tom Swetnam
  24. 24. Photograph: Miguel Viera
  25. 25. “ And see this ring right here, Jimmy? ... ” That’s another time when the old fellowmiraculously survived some big forest fire.
  26. 26. Source: Swetnam et al., 2009
  27. 27. Photograph: J. Dieterich
  28. 28. Photograph: J. Dieterich
  29. 29. Photograph: Henri Grissino-Mayer
  30. 30. Photograph: Tom Swetnam
  31. 31. Photograph: Tom SwetnamTom Swetnam and Chris Baisan sampling eye socket fire scars at Big Stump, Kings Canyon NP
  32. 32. Source: Tom Swetnam
  33. 33. Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  34. 34. Fire interval = Number of years between fire events
  35. 35. Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  36. 36. “ The earliest fire date recorded by a growth release was in 181 B.C.E., and the earliest fire scar date was in 56 B.C.E. ” The latest fire date (recorded by a scar) was in 1915 C.E. Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  37. 37. Fire frequency = Number of fire events per 50-year period
  38. 38. Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  39. 39. “ However, these distributions provide only relativistic estimates of fire free intervals (or fire frequencies) within the scales, locations, and time periods described, ” and not absolute estimates of area burned. Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  40. 40. Source: Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  41. 41. By 1890, NM had more than 5 million sheep in 1.5 million ca le.
  42. 42. Photograph: Charles Kaiser
  43. 43. “ Fire scars, other tree-ring indicators, and charcoal in wet meadow sediments from the Giant Forest and ” other sequoia groves show that the “normal” condition of these fire regimes is one of highly frequent surface fires. Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  44. 44. “ The most recent century and a half (since circa 1860 C.E.) ” of fire suppression by people is the most anomalous, low-fire frequency period in at least the past 3000 years. Swetnam et al., Fire Ecology, 2009
  45. 45. 2 TWO NORTHERN FIRES
  46. 46. Photograph: Kurt Schierenbeck
  47. 47. ExtensiveFire evidence Limited No scars No trees Low Moderate High Fire intensity
  48. 48. Miron ‘Bud’ Heinselman
  49. 49. “Remaining virgin forest of the BWCA” Heinselman, 1973
  50. 50. “ We have long known that fire was a factor in the ecology of the Great Lakes conifer forests, but an ecosystem view of its influence was hampered by lack of knowledge of the historical role of fire in a complete functioning ” natural ecosystem such as the Canoe Area’s. Heinselman, Quaternary Research, 1973
  51. 51. 280-yr red pine stand near Ramshead Lake Heinselman, 1973
  52. 52. Inferred area burned Heinselman, 1973
  53. 53. “ A natural fire rotation of about 100 yr prevailed in prese lement times, but many red and white pine stands remained largely intact for 150-350 yr, and some jack pine and aspen-birch forest probably burned at intervals ” of 50 yr or less. Heinselman, Quaternary Research, 1973
  54. 54. 3 THREE FIRE AND CLIMATE
  55. 55. “ Very broadscale synchrony (at >104 km 2 scales) is typically related to climate variability affecting the co-occurrence of ecological events in many places, because most ecological disturbances or processes are ” not capable of physically spreading over such large areas. Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  56. 56. Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  57. 57. Cook et al., 2007, Earth Science Reviews
  58. 58. Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  59. 59. SUPERPOSED EPOCH ANALYSISReference: Baisan and Swetnam, Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 1990
  60. 60. Superposed Epoch Analysis is used to illustrate the sequence of environmental changes that usually precede and follow a specific type of event.Reference: Baisan and Swetnam, Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 1990
  61. 61. time wet wet wet dry dry dry dry dry FIREReference: Baisan and Swetnam, Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 1990
  62. 62. Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  63. 63. Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  64. 64. Fire year PDSI = -1.7Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  65. 65. Fire year -1 PDSI = +0.2 Fire year PDSI = -1.7Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  66. 66. Fire year -3 PDSI = +0.5 Fire year -1 PDSI = +0.2 Fire year PDSI = -1.7Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  67. 67. Fire year -3 PDSI = +0.5 Fire year -1 PDSI = +0.2 Fire year PDSI = -1.7 Fire year +1 PDSI = -0.4 Fire year +2 PDSI = +0.4Source: Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  68. 68. Average Palmer Drought Severity IndexSource: Swetnam and Betancourt, Journal of Climate, 1998
  69. 69. Average Palmer Drought Severity IndexSource: Swetnam and Betancourt, Journal of Climate, 1998
  70. 70. “ Results of SEA from the Southwest regional data confirm that, on average, the larger fire years occurred during drought years and La Niña events, and that the small fire years occurred during the opposite pa erns of pluvial ” years and El Niño events. Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  71. 71. “ Interestingly, SEA also o en shows that there were significant lagging relationships in climate/ecosystem dynamics, with fire years typically following 1–3 years of ” wet conditions. Swetnam and Brown, Dendroclimatology, 2010
  72. 72. ReadingSwetnam et al. (2009), Multi-millennial fire historyof the Giant Forest, Sequoia National Park,California, USA. Fire Ecology 5, 120-150.
  73. 73. International Multiproxy Paleofire Database
  74. 74. Source: Emily Heyerdahl and Don Falk
  75. 75. Exercise!Use the North American Drought Atlas to explorethe spatial pa erns of droughts associated withextensive regional fires.
  76. 76. Source: Kurt Kipfmueller
  77. 77. Exercise!Due April 19

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