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Project ID: 01B-3-3-18

Year: 2002

Date Started: 05/16/2002

Date Completed: 12/15/2006

Title: Fire Regimes of Forests in the Peninsular and Transverse Ranges of Southern California

Project Proposal Abstract: The USFS recently released the Southern California Mountains and Foothill Assessment for the Cleveland, San Bernardino, Angeles, and Los Padres National Forests. This assessment identified fire management as one of its important goals but only one published fire history study is available to assist in plan development. The single fire history study did not use cross-dating and had a very limited spatial extent. Information on past fire season was not obtained. Lack of comprehensive information makes it extremely difficult to understand past fire dynamics in this large, diverse area. The science of dendrochronolgy has been used in many areas of the United States to quantify past fire regimes. When cross-dating techniques are used an accurate and precise reconstruction of fire frequency, fire season, and fire extent can be created. Some have hypothesized that forest fires in the southern California mountains were of relatively high severity and more infrequent than other pine dominated ecosystems. A dendrochronology based fire history study in this region will provide strong evidence to support or refute this hypothesis. Should managers design fire management plans to incorporate relatively infrequent (25-40 years), moderate-high severity fires or should they include frequent (5-15 years), low-moderate intensity fires? For what season should prescribed fires be planned? At present it is not possible to answer these questions. The objective of this project is to collect, cross-date, and analyze fire history information from the Cleveland, San Bernardino, Angeles, and Los Padres National Forests in southern California. The interaction of climate and past fires will also be examined. Information from this study can assist in development of fire management and forest plans that will be revised in response to the Southern California Mountains and Foothills Assessment.

Principal Investigator: Scott L. Stephens

Agency/Organization: University of California-Berkeley

Branch or Dept: Department of Environmental Sciences-Policy & Management

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept


Mark I. Borchert

Forest Service

Los Padres NF-Ojai Ranger District


Michael Dietrich

Forest Service

San Bernardino National Forest


Donald Feser

Forest Service

Angeles National Forest


Richard Hawkins

Forest Service

Cleveland National Forest


Patrick Pontes

Forest Service

Los Padres National Forest

Federal Cooperator

Carl N. Skinner

Forest Service

PSW-Silviculture Lab-Redding

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


There are no project locations identified for this project.

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.")

  ID Type Title
    755 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire in the Sierra Nevada and Southern California Mountains; Similarities and Differences
  go to website 756 Website Project Website
    1761 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire Regimes and Forest Structure in the Mountains of Northwestern Mexico and Southern California

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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