98030 - Past and present vulnerability of closed-canopy temperate forests to altered fire regimes.pdf (2.75 MB)

Past and present vulnerability of closed-canopy temperate forests to altered fire regimes: a comparison of the Pacific Northwest, New Zealand, and Patagonia

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posted on 2023-05-18, 06:51 authored by Whitlock, C, McWethy, DB, Tepley, AJ, Veblen, TT, Holz, A, McGlone, MS, Perry, GLW, Wilmshurst, JM, Wood, SW
The relative importance of people and climate in shaping prehistoric fire regimes is debated around the world, and this discussion has helped inform our understanding of past and present ecosystem dynamics. Evidence for extensive anthropogenic burning of temperate closed-canopy forests prior to European settlement is geographically variable, and the factors responsible for this variability are not well resolved. We set out to explain the differences in the influence of prehistoric human-set fires in seasonally dry forest types in the Pacific Northwest, New Zealand, and northern Patagonia by comparing the fire traits of dominant taxa, postfire vegetation recovery, long-term climate trends, and human activities that may have motivated burning. Our analysis suggests that ecological and climatic factors explain much of the differences in how these mesic–dry forests responded to prehistoric anthropogenic burning. Understanding past human–environment interactions at regional scales is an important step for assessing the impact of biomass burning at all scales.


Publication title









School of Natural Sciences


Amer Inst Biological Sci

Place of publication

1444 Eye St, Nw, Ste 200, Washington, USA, Dc, 20005

Rights statement

Copyright 2014 The Authors-distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Licence ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Terrestrial biodiversity