Fire Ecology in Rocky Mountain Landscapes

Fire Ecology in Rocky Mountain Landscapes

Book - 2009
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Fire Ecology in Rocky Mountain Landscapes brings a century of scientific research to bear on improving the relationship between people and fire.
In recent years, some scientists have argued that current patterns of fire are significantly different from historical patterns, and that landscapes should be managed with an eye toward reestablishing past fire regimes. At the policy level, state and federal agencies have focused on fuel reduction and fire suppression as a means of controlling fire.
Geographer William L. Baker takes a different view, making the case that the available scientific data show that infrequent episodes of large fires followed by long interludes with few fires led to naturally fluctuating landscapes, and that the best approach is not to try to change or control fire but to learn to live with it. In Fire Ecology in Rocky Mountain Landscapes, Baker reviews functional traits and responses of plants and animals to fire at the landscape scale; explains how scientists reconstruct the history of fire in landscapes; elaborates on the particulars of fire under the historical range of variability in the Rockies; and considers the role of Euro-Americans in creating the landscapes and fire situations of today.
In the end, the author argues that the most effective action is to rapidly limit and redesign people-nature interfaces to withstand fire, which he believes can be done in ways that are immediately beneficial to both nature and communities.

Fire Ecology in Rocky Mountain Landscapes is the first comprehensive review of scientific research on fire in Rocky Mountain ecosystems emphasizing the landscape scale. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with fire and fire management, including academic and agency scientists; natural resource professionals; and researchers, professors, and students involved with environmental science, land management, and resource management.

Book News
Baker (ecology and geography, U. of Wyoming) reviews scientific research on fire in Rocky Mountain ecosystems from a landscape-scale approach and shows that systems in the Rockies were dominated historically by infrequent episodes of large, difficult-to-control fires that burned under severe weather conditions. He suggests that human relationships with fire should minimize impact on the natural world and that humans should understand how fire affects plants and animals, that it is inevitable, and that land uses can be redesigned around these concepts. He challenges past ideas that emphasize fire suppression as a central cause to changes in vegetation, proposes that natural recovery is the best approach, and describes fire behavior, history, effects, and restoration in different landscapes. The book is intended for academic and agency scientists, natural resource professionals, and researchers, professors, and students in environmental science, and land and resource management. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Washington, DC : Island Press, c2009
ISBN: 9781597261821
Characteristics: xxi, 605 p. : ill., maps ; 26 cm

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