Fire history of white fir forests in the coastal mountains of northwestern California
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Fire intervals are presented for white fir (Abies concolor var. lowiana) forests in the coastal mountains of northwestern California (USA). Fire dates and tree establishment dates were derived using dendrochronological analysis of stumps with fire scars from 28 logged sampling sites spread across an area approximately 125 km by 30 km. Pre-suppression median fire intervals ranged from 12 to 161 years. The median fire interval for the pre-suppression period (27 years) was significantly shorter than for the suppression period (74 years). There were no significant differences in median fire intervals among vegetation series. There were also no significant regressions of median fire interval with distance from the ocean, latitude, or elevation. Most sampling sites were multi-aged and had experienced multiple surface fires. Some sites had experienced stand-replacing fires. Fire suppression has increased stand density, increased the density of shade tolerant tree species, and decreased the density of shade intolerant tree species.
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