Volume 13 Issue 1   April 2017
Letter from the Editor 
by Bob Keane, Managing Editor
 
The April 2017 issue of Fire Ecology⎯Volume 13, Issue 1⎯is now available on the journal website.  This issue offers a diverse set of interesting papers in many fields of fire ecology.  There are two papers that describe the impact of prescribed burning and fuel treatment: one reports on ponderosa pine injury in central Oregon, USA, while the other investigates changes in vegetation composition of granite inselbergs in eastern Australia.  There is a paper on how smoke water and heat can influence the regeneration of shortgrass prairie plant species, and another paper on the resilience of frequently burned black oak forests of California, USA.  Fire history is the subject of two papers: one on the incidence of low and moderate severity fire in mixed species forests of the California Sierra Nevada, and the other is a study of stand structure and demography to interpret fire history along an elevational gradient in Oregon.  There is a paper that details carbon emissions during a peatland fire, while another paper evaluates tree mortality after wildfire as a consequence of shrub competition in Yosemite National Park, California.  Lastly, we published an article on the change in fuel loadings and fire behavior after a spruce budworm outbreak in northern New Mexico, USA.  We invite you to read and enjoy these timely articles, and please send them to your friends.  We thank the Associate Editors, anonymous reviewers, webmaster Brett Cole, and Copy Editor Laurie Burk for all of their hard work involved in delivering a high quality, scientific journal.  

Photo credit: 
Douglas F. "Gus" Smith

About the Cover:  
Reintroducing fire following a century of fire exclusion poses challenges in the Sierra Nevada. This picture shows two firefighters on the fireline of the backfire ignited to control the advance of the 2013 Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park, California, USA, about 500 m south of the Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot. 

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Research Articles


Fire History and Forest Structure along an Elevational Gradient in the Southern Cascade Range, Oregon, USA
We examined stand structure, demography, and fire history using tree cores and fire scar data across an approximately 7000-hectare study area over an elevational gradient in the southern Cascade Range, Oregon, USA. Our plots were located in mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana [Bong.] Carr), red fir (Abies magnifica A. Murr.), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Loudon), and mixed conifer forest types.

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The Influence of Western Spruce Budworm on Fire in Spruce-Fir Forests
Authors:   Eric Vane Kristen M. Waring , and  Adam Polinko
Western spruce budworm ( Choristoneura freemani  Razowski; WSBW) is the most significant defoliator of coniferous trees in the western United States. Despite its important influence on Western forests, there are still gaps in our knowledge of WSBW's impact on fire, and little research has been done on this relationship in high-elevation spruce-fir forests.
 
Carbon Emissions during Wildland Fire an a North American Temperate Peatland
Northern temperate zone (30° to 50° latitude) peatlands store a large proportion of the world's terrestrial carbon (C) and are subject to high-intensity, stand-replacing wildfires characterized by flaming stage combustion of aboveground vegetation and long-duration smoldering stage combustion of organic soils. Coastal peatlands are a unique region in which long-duration wildfire soil combustion is responsible for the majority of total annual emissions from all wildfires in the North American coastal plain.
Corroborating Evidence of a Pre-Euro-American Low- to Moderate-Severity Fire Regime in Yellow Pine-Mixed Conifer Forests of the Sierra Nevada, California, USA
Authors:   Jay D. Miller  and  Hugh D. Safford
Fire was the dominant ecological process controlling forest structure and succession in western North American conifer forests for thousands of years. Because fires are now suppressed, and because widespread logging has greatly altered vegetation structure, land managers often use estimates of pre-Euro-American settlement forest conditions to help guide restoration actions. It follows that it is important to fully understand the characteristics of pre-Euro-American settlement fire regimes.
Resilience of California Black Oak Experiencing Frequent Fire: Regeneration following Two Large Wildfires 12 Years Apart
Historically, oak woodlands in western North America were maintained by frequent fire that killed competing conifers. Today, these woodlands are often in decline as competition from conifers intensifies. Among oak species affected is the ecologically important California black oak (Quercus kelloggii Newberry). Within its range, large high-severity wildfires have become more common.
Shrub Communities, Spatial Patterns, and Shrub-Mediated Tree Mortality following Reintroduced Fire in Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Shrubs contribute to the forest fuel load; their distribution is important to tree mortality and regeneration, and vertebrate occupancy. We used a method new to fire ecology-extensive continuous mapping of trees and shrub patches within a single large (25.6 ha) study site-to identify changes in shrub area, biomass, and spatial pattern due to fire reintroduction by a backfire following a century of fire exclusion in lower montane forests of the Sierra Nevada, California, USA.
The Effects of Fire and Manual Biomass Removal on the Vegetation of Granite Inselbergs
Author:   John T. Hunter
The vegetation on granite inselbergs (island mountains) within the New England Bioregion of eastern Australia and the adjacent matrix were chosen as subjects in this study on the effects of aboveground biomass removal on community recovery. Undisturbed inselberg vegetation was treated by manual removal of biomass through clipping and also by burning. Inselbergs and the adjacent matrix that had been burned the previous year were also treated to an additional burn.
Smoke Water and Heat Influence Emergence of Shortgrass Prairie Species
Authors:   Robert D. Cox Yi-Fang Chou , and  David B. Wester
Exposure to smoke can influence the germination of seeds in many fire-prone ecosystems, but this effect is not well studied in grasslands. Smoke treatments such as smoke water could be useful as management and restoration tools if the response of target species in natural settings is well understood. We tested eight species native to the southern High Plains region in Texas, USA, that were already known to respond to smoke water in the laboratory, for their responses in a less controlled glasshouse environment.
Prescribed Burning in Ponderosa Pine: Fuel Reductions and Redistributing Fuels near Boles to Prevent Injury
Fire suppression and other factors have resulted in high wildfire risk in the western US, and prescribed burning can be an effective tool for thinning forests and reducing fuels to lessen wildfire risks. However, prescribed burning sometimes fails to substantially reduce fuels and sometimes damages and kills valuable, large trees. This study compared fuel reductions between spring and fall prescribed burns and tested whether removing (i.e., raking) fuels within 1 m of boles reduced fire damage to ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson & C. Lawson).