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Flames in Our Forest : Disaster or Renewal? - Stephen F. Arno

Flames in Our Forest

Disaster or Renewal?

Hardcover Published: 1st April 2002
ISBN: 9781559638821
Number Of Pages: 248

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Shaped by fire for thousands of years, the forests of the western United States are as adapted to periodic fires as they are to the region's soils and climate. Our widespread practice of ignoring the vital role of fire is costly in both ecological and economic terms, with consequences including the decline of important fire-dependent tree and undergrowth species, increasing density and stagnation of forests, epidemics of insects and diseases, and the high potential for severe wildfires.

Flames in Our Forest explains those problems and presents viable solutions to them. It explores the underlying historical and ecological reasons for the problems associated with our attempts to exclude fire and examines how some of the benefits of natural fire can be restored Chapters consider:

  • the history of American perceptions and uses of fire in the forest
  • how forest fires burn
  • effects of fire on the soil, water, and air
  • methods for uncovering the history and effects of past fires
  • prescribed fire and fuel treatments for different zones in the landscape

Flames in Our Forest presents a new picture of the role of fire in maintaining forests, describes the options available for restoring the historical effects of fires, and considers the implications of not doing so. It will help readers appreciate the importance of fire in forests and gives a nontechnical overview of the scientific knowledge and tools available for sustaining western forests by mimicking and restoring the effects of natural fire regimes.


oThis well-written book provides good reading for anyone interested in western forests, their environment, ecology and great beauty; or for someone who owns a home or land in a forested area.o --Robert D. Hook, Electronic Green Journal

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Introduction: Why Learn about Fire?p. 1
Wildland Forests and Their Firesp. 3
Eliminating Firep. 6
Understanding Fire in the Forestp. 7
Restoring Firep. 8
Mixed Signals: A Brief History of American Perceptions of Firep. 11
Accepting Risk and Adapting to Fire: Ancient Times to 1910p. 12
Suppression versus Light Burning: 1910 to 1935p. 16
The War on Fire and the Rise of Prescribed Burning: 1935 to 1978p. 19
Foresters Accept Fire, Society Resists: 1978 to Presentp. 22
Managing Fuels and Fire or Unwinnable War: The Futurep. 25
Fire on the Landscape: Past, Present, and Futurep. 27
Fires in the Past: Widespread Burningp. 27
Recent and Future Fires: An Upward Trendp. 34
Fire Behavior: Why and How Fire Burnsp. 37
The Combustion Trianglep. 38
Fuelsp. 38
Heatp. 39
Oxygenp. 40
The Fire Behavior Trianglep. 40
Wildland Fuelsp. 40
Weatherp. 44
Topographyp. 45
Types of Firep. 45
Fire Effects in a Standp. 46
Fire Effects on the Landscapep. 47
Thinking about Fire Behaviorp. 49
Nature's Creative Force: How Fire Shapes the Forestp. 51
Adaptations of Treesp. 52
Fire-Susceptible Treesp. 53
Generalistsp. 53
Fire-Dependent Treesp. 53
Adaptations of Undergrowth Plantsp. 58
Survivorsp. 58
Colonizersp. 59
Effects on Wildlifep. 60
Different Forests, Different Firesp. 65
Understory Fire Regimep. 68
Ponderosa Pinep. 68
Oregon White Oakp. 70
Redwoodp. 72
Mixed Fire Regimep. 73
Mixed Coniferp. 74
Coastal Douglas-firp. 75
Inland Douglas-firp. 76
Lodgepole Pinep. 77
Ponderosa Pinep. 78
Ponderosa Pine Riparianp. 79
Stand-Replacement Fire Regimep. 80
Coastal Douglas-firp. 83
Lodgepole Pinep. 84
Whitebark Pinep. 86
Importance of Fire Regimesp. 87
Environmental Impacts: Fire's Influence on Soils, Water, and Airp. 89
Fire and Erosionp. 90
Fire and Stream Habitatp. 93
Fire and Soil Fertilityp. 94
Maintaining Native Plant Communitiesp. 96
Rehabilitation to Prevent Erosionp. 98
Fire and Air Pollutionp. 99
Managing Fire's Impactsp. 101
Fire History: Discovering Effects of Past Fires in a Forestp. 103
A Bygone Forestp. 103
History in an Ancient Stumpp. 105
Looking for Cluesp. 108
The Merits of Stumpsp. 108
Single Fire Scarsp. 109
Multiple Fire Scarsp. 110
Sampling Stumpsp. 111
Fire-Initiated Age Classes of Treesp. 113
Reconstructing Old Forestsp. 114
Practical Use of Fire Historyp. 116
Fire-Prone Forests: Can We Adapt to Them?p. 119
Prophets of Prescribed Firep. 120
Forestry Accepts Fire, but Other Barriers Emergep. 123
Fuels Managementp. 126
The Residential Forestp. 127
The General Forestp. 131
Wilderness and Natural Areasp. 134
Our Progress Reportp. 135
Restoring Nature's Creative Forcep. 137
The "No Action" Alternativep. 138
Juggling Natural Firesp. 139
Hazard Reduction Zonesp. 143
Forested Fuelbreaksp. 144
Area-Wide Fuel Reductionp. 145
Insights from Fire Effectsp. 150
Creative Concepts for Forest Restorationp. 153
Managing Wildland Fuels around Homesp. 157
The Surviving Home in a Seared Forestp. 158
At Home in the Fire-Dependent Woodsp. 159
Protecting the Homesitep. 160
Protecting the Home Forestp. 161
Restoration Methodsp. 162
Uneven-Aged Management around Homesp. 164
Fuel Treatmentsp. 165
Rewards for the Homeownerp. 167
Lessons from Nature: Will We Learn?p. 169
The Choice of Fire Exclusionp. 169
A Chance to Reconsiderp. 170
If We Stick with Fire Exclusionp. 174
Wildfire Emergenciesp. 174
Environmental Damagep. 176
Wasted Moneyp. 178
If We Choose Responsible Actionp. 179
Getting Help: Information and Educational Resources for Forest Landownersp. 183
Referencesp. 189
About the Authorsp. 213
Indexp. 215
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781559638821
ISBN-10: 1559638826
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 1st April 2002
Publisher: Island Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.3  x 2.29
Weight (kg): 0.49
Edition Number: 3