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Fire history of a western Montana ponderosa pine grassland: A pilot study


Gayton, Don V.; Weber, Marc H.; Harrington, Mick; Heyerdahl, Emily K.; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Brett, Bob; Hall, Cindy; Hartman, Micahel; Peterson, Liesl; Merrel, Carolynne. 2006. Fire history of a western Montana ponderosa pine grassland: A pilot study. In: Speer, James H., ed. Experiential learning and exploratory research: The 13th annual North American dendroecological fieldweek (NADEF). Prof. Paper Ser. No. 23. Terre Haute: Indiana State University, Department of Geography, Geology, and Anthropology: 30-36.

A primary goal in the management of forests and grasslands is to maintain community structure and disturbance processes within their historical range of variation. If, within a managed ecosystem, either is found to lie outside that range, restoration may be necessary. Both maintenance and restoration are currently guided by the principles of ecosystem management, which relies on knowledge of both historical processes and current ecosystem conditions (Forest Ecosystem Management Team 1993). In ecosystems historically sustained by fire, site-specific fire regime data can be combined with information on present composition and structure to design ecologically appropriate restoration and management prescriptions. While this approach to restoring fire-adapted ecosystems is appropriate for many publicly managed forests, it is actually mandated for U.S. Forest Service-designated Research Natural Areas (RNA). Research Natural Areas are established as examples, of forests or grasslands, that most closely represent historical vegetation and wildlife habitat, and that are largely products of natural disturbance processes and ecosystem succession (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1994).

Keywords: fire history, western Montana, grassland, Research Natural Areas, RNA


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Fire history of a western Montana ponderosa pine grassland: A pilot study
Electronic Publish Date: July 19, 2007
Last Update:
July 19, 2007

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