Modern fire regime resembles historical fire regime in a ponderosa pine forest on Native American lands

Amanda B. Stan, Peter Z. Fulé, Kathryn B. Ireland, Jamie S. Sanderlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Forests on tribal lands in the western United States have seen the return of low-intensity surface fires for several decades longer than forests on non-tribal lands. We examined the surface fire regime in a ponderosa pine-dominated (Pinus ponderosa) forest on the Hualapai tribal lands in the south-western United States. Using fire-scarred trees, we inferred temporal (frequency and seasonality) and spatial (synchrony) attributes and regulators of the fire regime over three land-use periods (historical, suppression, modern) between 1702 and 2007. Patterns of fire frequency and synchrony were similar, but fire seasonality was dissimilar, between the historical and modern periods. Logistic regression and generalised linear mixed models identified a suite of variables representing fuels, climate and human land uses that were associated with the probability of a site burning. Combined, these results allow for valuable insights regarding past fire spread and variability in fire frequency throughout our study area. In some respects, the current distinct fire regime in our study area, which predominately consists of prescribed fires implemented since the 1960s, resembles the past frequent surface fire regime that occurred here and in similar forest types on non-tribal lands in the south-western United States. Our results will be useful for informing adaptive management throughout the region as climate warms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-697
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • Hualapai Tribe
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • climate
  • dendrochronology
  • fire scars
  • fuels
  • generalised linear mixed models
  • logistic regression models
  • prescribed fire
  • south-western United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology


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