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Project ID: 06-3-1-16

Year: 2006

Date Started: 07/07/2006

Date Completed: 05/11/2010

Title: Developing and Using Fire Scar Histories in the Southern and Eastern United States

Project Proposal Abstract: Fire scar evidence of fire regimes in eastern North America is sparse and complex but shows promise in defining the dynamics of these fire regimes and their influence on ecosystems. Much of the eastern and southern United States has no fire scar data or analysis. Fire scar chronologies, especially those that predate European settlement, are difficult to acquire in the eastern U.S. because of the rapid decay of wood, the lack of old trees available for sectioning, and the small amount of public land. We propose, based on our past experience in eastern forests, to identify and construct fire scar histories (250+ years in length), for at least 10 sites in the deciduous and subtropical forests of this region. We will identify and sample sites in Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, Florida, and South Carolina. We will use remnant wood and live trees of oak and southern pine species to develop precisely dated fire scar chronologies at each site. These data will be made available to the public via the International Multiproxy Paleofire Database administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Additionally, this project will incorporate these new fire scar chronologies with existing data to estimate and map pre-European settlement mean fire intervals for the eastern United States. Analyses will relate changes in fire frequency to climate, natural ignition frequency and human population density. Empirically derived regression models based on climate, population, and ignitions will be used to produce and map fire intervals.

Principal Investigator: Richard P. Guyette

Agency/Organization: University of Missouri-Columbia

Branch or Dept: Forestry

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Martin Spetich

Forest Service

SRS-Hot Springs AR Office


Michael A. Jenkins

Purdue University

Forestry & Natural Resources


Rex Mann

Forest Service

Daniel Boone National Forest

Federal Cooperator

Daniel C. Dey

Forest Service

NRS-Central Hardwoods

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network




Great Basin

Great Plains

Lake States

Oak Woodlands

Northern Rockies




Southern Rockies



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
    1479 Government Publication Fire Regime of a Montane Longleaf Pine Ecosystem, Alabama
view or print   3055 Journal Article International Journal of Wildland Fire
  go to website 3056 Journal Article Pioneer Forest: In the Heart of Roughness
    2885 Journal Article Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) Fire Scars Renewal New Details of a Frequent Fire Regime
view or print   281 MS Thesis Fire Effects and Litter Accumulation Dynamics in a Montane Longleaf Pine Ecosystem
    663 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire Regime of a Montane Longleaf Pine Ecosystem, Alabama
    664 Invited Paper/Presentation Lessons from Fire History, Past and Future: A Regional Workshop on Eastern U.S. Fire History
    3583 Invited Paper/Presentation An Empirical Calibration and Comparison of Fire Intervals in the Southwest and Contiguous U.S.
    4588 Invited Paper/Presentation Continental and Landscape-Scale Approaches to Modeling Historic Spatio-Temporal Variability in Fire Frequency From Fire Scar Data
view or print   3865 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire History in the Huron Mountains Landscape
    3866 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Contemporary Fuel Inventory in the Central Hardwood Region
    3867 Dataset (including spatial) Tree Ring Data-Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky
view or print   3910 Poster A Calibration of Temperature and Fire Frequency
view or print   4160 Invited Paper/Presentation Perspectives and Comparisons of Smoke Emissions from Historic and Modern Fires: Taking the Elephant out of the Closet and Putting it into the Stadium
view or print   3819 Invited Paper/Presentation Future Continental and Global Climate Forcing of Fire Frequency
    6153 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire History of the Loess Hills
    6154 Invited Paper/Presentation High Resolution Mapping of Historic Fire Regimes
view or print   6060 Poster Fire Scar Confirmation of a Long-Term Fire Regime in a Longleaf Pine-Bluestem Ecosystem
    5714 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Lessons from Fire History: Past and Future

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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