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Project ID: 08-S-9

Year: 2008

Date Started: 08/01/2008

Date Completed: 02/25/2011

Title: Fire Ecology and Management of Grassland, Shrubland, and Woodland Ecosystems of Western North America

Project Proposal Abstract: It has been over 20 years since the last major book on the ecology and management of fire was published that contained extensive information from non-forested ecosystems across western North America (Wright and Bailey 1982). During subsequent years there have been notable books that have focused largely on forested ecosystems (e.g. Agee 1993), and there was one very recent book that addressed many important grassland, shrubland, woodland, and forest areas, but its geographic extent was confmed to California (Sugihara et al. 2006). No single book has since matched the geographic scope associated with non-forested ecosystems in western North America as that previously addressed by Wright and Bailey (1982). Much has changed during the past few decades that warrant an updated synthesis of frre science in non-forested ecosystems. Exploding human populations and dramatic increases in the dominance ofnon-native invasive plants have led to increased fire occurrences and altered fire regimes that have catapulted fire management to the forefront ofmany lists of major threats to ecological and economic resources in non-forested ecosystems of western North America. As a result of this heightened concern, there has been a flush of new fire ecology studies, including many supported by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) that have in many ways altered previous thoughts about the inter-relationships between fire and vegetation in non-forested ecosystems. In addition, most fire science books have focused on the physical aspects of frre and their effects on soils, hydrology, and vegetation, but have not significantly addressed effects on wildlife. The role of fire management in the broader context of land management has also been underrepresented in most fire science books, even though fire management is probably more affected by various land use and agency policies than anything else. Recently there has also developed a greater appreciation for a long-term perspective of fire management, and the potential effects of future changes in climate and other atmospheric conditions that may confound fire management planning efforts. Land managers and others have been calling for more synthesis products that summarize the current state-of-the-science for major thematic and biogeographic areas, making the information more accessible and relevant to land managers. Recent years of record acreages burned, new incursions of invasive plants species, declines in many wildlife species, increasing human populations, and new challenges related to land uses in nonforested ecosystems of western North America have led many to call for an updated synthesis related to fire management in this region. This need is most apparent when land managers sit down to write comprehensive fire management plans, or are tasked to develop post-fire management plans in very short periods of time.

Principal Investigator: Matthew L. Brooks

Agency/Organization: USGS-Geological Survey

Branch or Dept: WERC-Yosemite Field Station

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept


Michael J. Thompson

BLM-Bureau of Land Management


Co-Principal Investigator

Stephen C. Bunting

University of Idaho

Rangeland Ecology & Management

Co-Principal Investigator

Samuel D. Fuhlendorf

Oklahoma State University

Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management

Co-Principal Investigator

Richard R. Miller

Oregon State University

Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center

Federal Cooperator

Matthew L. Brooks

USGS-Geological Survey

WERC-Yosemite Field Station

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network






Interior West



Pacific Coast States


Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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