Many of the present day issues associated with fire management in wilderness areas are addressed by studying past interactions among fire, humans, vegetation and climate. In this paper we describe three centuries of the fire regime in the Lower Buffalo River Wilderness Area, Arkansas, USA. We reconstructed fire events from 159 tree-ring dated fire scars on 26 shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata Mill.) remnants and live trees. During the late-17th Century and early 18th Century the mean fire return interval (MFI) was 7.7 y. Fire frequency increased abruptly circa 1820 with fires burning every 2 y on average until 1920. The number of fires decreased during the 1900s as cultural values changed to favor fire suppression over multiple-use burning. Analyses of the influence of human ignitions and drought on the fire regime resulted in two important findings: (1) that fire frequency was positively correlated to human population density up to 1920 and (2) the influence of drought seemed to be masked by frequent anthropogenic fires and fire suppression. Fire events were associated with droughts only prior to Euro-American settlement. Studies of climate-fire relationships should consider the potential for anthropogenic influence and future studies should attempt to quantify the historic role of humans in the fire regime.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 156 • No. 2