Fire Ecology
Volume 8 Issue 3, 2012
Journal 23 cover
Fire Ecology
Volume 8 Issue 3, 2012
About the Cover:
Image of a fire (February 2008) burning a patch of non-native buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) within the Guanica Commonwealth Forest Biosphere Reserve in southwestern Puerto Rico. Mature coastal subtropical dry forest is visible in the background. Invasive non-native grasses and human-caused fire are a major problem within the forest reserve. Arson fires occur almost annually during the dry season in grass patches near coastal access roads. Fires encroach into adjacent forest and reduce native woody species cover. Management is focused on reducing grass fuels and restoring forest cover. Fuel management strategies may be improved with more information on the relationships among current fuel conditions, fire history, and the grass species present on a site. Photo credit: Jarrod M. Thaxton
Table of Contents
Fire-Stick Farming
Fuel Conditions Associated with Native and Exotic Grasses
The Role of Fire-Return Interval and Season of Burn
Time Since Fire Affects Ectoparasite
Trends in Wildfire Severity: 1984 to 2010
Biomass and Burning Characteristics of Sugar Pine Cones
Monitoring Live Fuel Moisture
Simulated Effects of Two Fire Regimes
Aspen Restoration in the Eastern Sierra Nevada
A Future in Flames
Conference Survey
AFE's Fire Ecology and Management Congress in Portland was a great success!  Thank you to all participants who have given us feedback on our event.  If you attended and haven't yet completed our survey, we'd love to hear from you.  The survey is short and will help us with future conference planning.

Thank You!
 New Section Forming:
AFE Speaks Spanish and Portuguese!

To mark the beginning of AFE Latin America and Iberia, we developed a survey to integrate work priorities for our section. If you are from these regions, please respond to the survey and distribute among your contacts. You can find the survey here. We really appreciate your help; stay tuned for news on our work over the course of this new year.  
Saludos desde Mexico, 
Citlali Cortes, 
AFE Latinoamerican and Iberia Liaison. 

Upcoming AFE Events

We are currently planning our next 3 conferences! 
Mark your calendars and stay tuned.

Wildland Fire in the Appalachians:  Discussions Among Managers and Scientists.  Roanoake, Virginia.  Oct. 8-10, 2013.


Large Wildland Fires: Social, Political & Ecological Consequences.  Missoula, Montana, in collaboration with IAWF. May 19-23, 2014.


6th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress.  San Antonio, Texas, USA. 2015.

Contact Us

In this Issue


This issue of Fire Ecology begins with another classic fire paper in Forum, this time from Australia.  Rhys Jones published Fire-Stick Farming in 1969, arguing that aboriginal peoples had a tremendous effect on the pre-European landscapes of the continent.  The paper is introduced by Dr. Aaron Petty of Darwin University, Australia.  From Australia we move to Puerto Rico and our first Research Article, where Thaxton et al. describe fuel differences between native and exotic grass openings in dry subtropical forest.  Moving north, Lloyd et al. investigate the effect of time-since-fire and season on snag dynamics in a southern USA slash pine forest.  Miller and Safford show a trend of increasing wildfire severity in the late twentieth through the early twenty-first century in the Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau, and southern Cascades of California, USA. Gabrielson et al. investigate biomass and burning characteristics of sugar pine cones in the Sierra Nevada, USA, showing that the cones can influence surface fire behavior.  In northern Utah, USA, Qi et al. show that live fuel moisture can be estimated using soil moisture and remote sensing proxies.  Holl et al. simulate the effects of two fire regimes on bighorn sheep in southern California, USA.  The last research paper in this issue, by Krasnow et al., evaluates the effectiveness of prescribed fire and tree removal on aspen in the eastern Sierra Nevada, USA.  The issue concludes with a Book Review by John Scasta, of A Future in Flames by Danielle Clode, about fire-prone ecosystems of Australia, and serves as a nice bookend to the Jones paper that introduces this issue of the journal.

~ Jim Agee, Editor

Forum: Issues, Management, Policy, and Opinions

Fire-Stick Farming, with an Introduction by Aaron M. Petty 

Author: Rhys Jones
Pages: 1-8     DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803001
Rhys Jones was not a fire ecologist, and he was the first to admit that. What Rhys Jones did understand was time-deep time.  Jones helped establish the time of human occupation of Australia at 40 000 years.  Read More

Research Articles

Fuel Conditions Associated with Native and Exotic Grasses in a Subtropical Dry Forest in Puerto Rico

Authors:  Jarrod M. Thaxton, Skip J. Van Bloem, and Stefanie Whitmire 
Pages: 9-17     
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803009
Exotic grasses capable of increasing frequency and intensity of anthropogenic fire have invaded subtropical and tropical dry forests worldwide. Since many dry forest trees are susceptible to fire, this can result in decline of native species and loss of forest cover.  Read more

The Role of Fire-Return Interval and Season of Burn in Snag Dynamics in a South Florida Slash Pine Forest

Authors:  John D. Lloyd, Gary L. Slater, and James R. Snyder 
Pages: 18-31     
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803018
Standing dead trees, or snags, are an important habitat element for many animal species. In many ecosystems, fire is a primary driver of snag population dynamics because it can both create and consume snags. The objective of this study was to examine how variation in two key components of the fire regime-fire-return interval and season of burn-affected population dynamics of snags.   Read more

Time Since Fire Affects Ectoparasite Prevalence on Lizards in the Florida Scrub Ecosystem

Authors: Earl D. McCoy, Joseph M. Styga, Carol E. Rizkalla, and Henry R. Mushinshy 

Pages: 32-40     DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803032

Prevalence of parasites can be an indicator of individual and population health of hosts. Populations of parasites can be affected by habitat management practices, however, which in turn can affect prevalence on hosts. Read more
Trends in Wildfire Severity: 1984 to 2010 in the Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau, and Southern Cascades, California, USA
Authors: Jay D. Miller and Hugh Safford

Pages: 41-57     DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803041

Data from recent assessments indicate that the annual area of wildfires burning at high severity (where most trees are killed) has increased since 1984 across much of the southwestern United States. Read more

Biomass and Burning Characteristics of Sugar Pine Cones

Authors: Anton T. Gabrielson, Andrew J. Larson, James A. Lutz, and James J. Reardon 

Pages: 58-70     DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803058

We investigated the physical and burning characteristics of sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana Douglas) cones and their contribution to woody surface fuel loadings.  Read more
Monitoring Live Fuel Moisture Using Soil  Moisture and Remote Sensing Proxies 
Authors: Yi Qi, Phillip E. Dennison, Jessica Spencer, and David Riano
Pages: 71-87     DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803071
Live fuel moisture (LFM) is an important fuel property controlling fuel ignition and fire propagation. LFM varies seasonally, and is controlled by precipitation, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and plant physiology. Read more
Simulated Effects of Two Fire Regimes on Bighorn Sheep: the San Gabriel Mountains, California, USA

Authors: Stephen A. HollVernon C. BleichBarry W. Callenberger, and Bernard Bahro  

Pages: 88-103     DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803088

An isolated population of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) occupies fire-adapted chaparral ranges in the San Gabriel Mountains, California, USA.   Read More
Aspen Restoration in the Eastern Sierra Nevada: Effectiveness of Prescribed Fire and Conifer Removal
Pages: 104-118     DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803104
Aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) comprises only a small fraction (1 %) of the Sierra Nevada landscape, yet contributes significant biological diversity to this range. In an effort to rejuvenate declining aspen stands, the Bureau of Land Management conducted conifer removal in three sites (2004 to 2006) and prescribed fire in two sites (2007). Read more

Book Review

A Future in Flames
Authors: John D. Scasta
Pages: 119     DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0803119
Author Danielle Clode, a researcher at the University of Melbourne, presents an intriguing look into the fire-prone ecosystems of Australia. "Bushfires," a term used to describe the unique wildfires of the Australian bush, are a developmental driver for the ecological and human dimensions of this continent. This text presents a viewpoint that accounts for the historical and ecological interactions of fire, climate, vegetation, and humans in Australia. Read more