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External charring and fire scarring in three western conifers

Sutherland, E. K.; Farella, Josh; Wright, David K; Hyp, Ian; Smith, K. T.; Falk, Donald A.; Arbellay, Estelle; Stoffel, Markus. 2013. External charring and fire scarring in three western conifers. In: Book of Abstracts: Second American Dendrochronology Conference; 2013 May 13-17; Tucson, AZ. Fire Ecology III/246. Tree-Ring Society. p. 102. Online:

Fires that injure but do not kill trees cause scars used as proxies for the reconstruction of wildfire history. Understanding about these wildfires - and their relationship to vegetation dynamics and climate - has profoundly affected wildfire and land management policy globally. To better understand scarring in the context of wildfire behavior, landscape and biological processes, and tree species differences, we established a study on forests burned in 2003 near Missoula, Montana. We cut down small trees with visibly charred bark of species Larix occidentalis, Pseudotsuga menziesii, and Pinus ponderosa, and cut cross-sections as high as bark charring occurred. We evaluated tree diameter and age, previous injuries, the number and size of new injuries, their relationship to bark charring and furrows and to topography, and whether the injuries closed over after 9 years recovery. We will discuss the probability of injury given external charring and the variability of scar characteristics among species.

Keywords: wildfires, external charring, fire scarring, injury, Larix occidentalis, Pseudotsuga menziesii, and Pinus ponderosa

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: External charring and fire scarring in three western conifers
Electronic Publish Date: September 30, 2013
Last Update:
September 30, 2013

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