Historical Fire Regime Of The Darkwoods: Quantifying The Past to Plan for the Future

Updated: Sep 23

Gregory A Greene, M.Sc. Thesis (2011)

Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

[Thesis] Historical Fire Regime Of The Darkwoods: Quantifying The Past to Plan for the Fut
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Abstract

This study quantifies the fire history of the Darkwoods; a 55,000 ha property in the South Selkirk Natural Area of southeastern British Columbia, owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Fire scar and tree cohort chronologies from 45 plots, extending from the years 1406 – 2010, were used to determine the temporal and spatial variability of historic fires in ~4,000 ha of the southeastern-most watershed of the property, and to assess the accuracy of provincial Natural Disturbance Type (NDT) classes for the study area. In light of a mixed-severity fire regime, recent and novel methods of historical fire mapping using Inverse Distance Weighting methods in a GIS were also analyzed. Using logistic regression, the spatial variation of fires at the tree- and plot-levels differed greatest by elevation, but fires at the tree-level also varied by slope steepness and slope aspect. Anthropogenic influences on the occurrence of fire over time were also evident, but only after 1945, when the occurrence of fire dropped significantly likely due to the introduction of modern methods of fire suppression in the 1940s. Results indicate a mixed-severity fire regime for the study area. The presence of numerous fire scars in mid- and high- elevation plots, in conjunction with mean fire return intervals less than 100 years, provide evidence that conflicts with provincial NDT designations. Including high-elevation stand ages, determined from increment cores, provided evidence of the absence of fire and helped refine estimates of fire boundaries, particularly in and around areas experiencing mixed- and high-severity fires. Spatial Mean Fire Intervals were longer than those calculated at the tree-, plot- and watershed-levels, reflecting the degree to which a mix of high-severity, stand-replacing fires, with low- and moderate-severity, stand-maintaining fires, can lengthen mean return intervals across a mixed-fire landscape.



Research Contributions


Publications

Greene, GA and LD Daniels. 2017. Spatial Interpolation and Mean Fire Interval Analyses Quantify Historical Mixed-Severity Fire Regimes. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 26:136-147.


Greene, GA. 2011. Historical Fire Regime of the Darkwoods: Quantifying the Past to Plan for the Future. MSc Thesis, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Conference Presentations

Greene, GA and LD Daniels. 2016. “Historic Wildfires: The Space-Time Continuum.” Wildland Fire Canada National Conference. Oral. October 25, Kelowna, BC.


Greene, GA and LD Daniels. 2014. “Historic Wildfires: The Space-Time Continuum.” Foothills Research Institute – Healthy Landscapes Symposium. Oral. December 7-8, Edmonton, AB.


Greene, GA and LD Daniels. 2012. “Mixed Severity Fires in Montane Forests: The Darkwoods of British Columbia.” Association for Fire Ecology - 5th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress. Oral. December 6, Portland, OR.


Greene, GA and LD Daniels. 2012. “Mixed Severity Fires in Mountain Forests: The Darkwoods of BC.” Wildland Fire Canada National Conference. Oral. October 4, Kananaskis, AB.


Greene, GA and LD Daniels. 2011. “Fire History of the Darkwoods: Quantifying the Past to Plan for the Future.” Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. Oral. April 13, Seattle WA.


Current Position

Greg Greene is now a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia.


For further information, contact Dr. Lori Daniels, Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, lori.daniels@ubc.ca





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