Fire as an ecological process

By: , and 
Edited by: N. G. SugiharaJ. W. van WagtendonkJ. Fites-KaufmanK. E. Shaffer, and A. E. Thode



This chapter investigates fire as a dynamic ecosystem process by first investigating fire in the context of general ecological theory, then discussing the concept of fire regimes, and finally by developing and applying a new framework for classifying fire regimes that better allows for the understanding of the patterns of fire as processes within ecosystems. Moreover, the chapter covers the succession theory and then proceeds through ecosystem, disturbance, and hierarchical theory. Next, it greatly expands on Agee’s (1993) treatment of conceptual distributions to include seven fire regime attributes, namely seasonality, fire return interval, fire size, spatial complexity, fireline intensity, fire severity, and fire type. Although humans have altered fire regimes throughout California for thousands of years, the pace of fire regime change has accelerated over the past 200 years. Recent and current management strategies have imposed directional changes on the pattern of fires in many California ecosystems.

Study Area

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Fire as an ecological process
Chapter 4
DOI 10.1525/california/9780520246058.003.0004
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher University of California Press
Publisher location Berkeley, CA
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 17 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Fire in California ecosystems
First page 58
Last page 74
Country United States
State California
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