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350 Years of Fire-Climate-Human Interactions in a Great Lakes Sandy Outwash Plain

Missouri Tree-Ring Laboratory, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, 203 ABNR Building, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station, 11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200. Newtown Square, PA 19073, USA
U.S. Forest Service, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, 500 Hanson Lake Road, Rhinelander, WI 54501, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sylvie Gauthier and Yves Bergeron
Forests 2016, 7(9), 189;
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 16 August 2016 / Accepted: 18 August 2016 / Published: 27 August 2016
PDF [3426 KB, uploaded 27 August 2016]


Throughout much of eastern North America, quantitative records of historical fire regimes and interactions with humans are absent. Annual resolution fire scar histories provide data on fire frequency, extent, and severity, but also can be used to understand fire-climate-human interactions. This study used tree-ring dated fire scars from red pines (Pinus resinosa) at four sites in the Northern Sands Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin to quantify the interactions among fire occurrence and seasonality, drought, and humans. New methods for assessing the influence of human ignitions on fire regimes were developed. A temporal and spatial index of wildland fire was significantly correlated (r = 0.48) with drought indices (Palmer Drought Severity Index, PDSI). Fire intervals varied through time with human activities that included early French Jesuit missions, European trade (fur), diseases, war, and land use. Comparisons of historical fire records suggest that annual climate in this region has a broad influence on the occurrence of fire years in the Great Lakes region. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropogenic fire regimes; humans; red pine; ignition; drought anthropogenic fire regimes; humans; red pine; ignition; drought

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Guyette, R.P.; Stambaugh, M.C.; Dey, D.C.; Marschall, J.M.; Saunders, J.; Lampereur, J. 350 Years of Fire-Climate-Human Interactions in a Great Lakes Sandy Outwash Plain. Forests 2016, 7, 189.

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