• Historical Perspectives on Range Burning in the Inland Pacific Northwest

      Shinn, D. A. (Society for Range Management, 1980-11-01)
      Ecological and historical data are combined in assessing the influence of cultural broadcast burning in the inland Pacific Northwest from the distant past into recent history. Twenty-four references to broadcast burning by native peoples were found in the journals of early explorers and settlers. Broadcast burning was apparently an ancient native tradition, derived from the earliest hunting cultures to enter the region. With the influx of European culture, misapprehensions about fire among whites disrupted the original influence of native cultural burning. Early irresponsible burning became associated with the deterioration of natural resources, and efforts to prevent or suppress all fires were incorporated in developing conservation policies. The reduction of burning, combined with markedly intensified grazing by European livestock, distorted the basic character of existing ecosystems and altered native plant communities. Early photographs of rangelands in east-central Oregon were gathered; their dates range from 1880 to the early 1930's. Photo-sites were re-photographed in 1976. Photoset comparisons show expansions of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) populations into adjacent rangeland ecosystems.