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dc.contributor.authorStevens, Jens T.
dc.contributor.authorSafford, Hugh D.
dc.contributor.authorNorth, Malcolm P.
dc.contributor.authorFried, Jeremy S.
dc.contributor.authorGray, Andrew N.
dc.contributor.authorBrown, Peter M.
dc.contributor.authorDolanc, Christopher R.
dc.contributor.authorDobrowski, Solomon Z.
dc.contributor.authorFalk, Donald A.
dc.contributor.authorFarris, Calvin A.
dc.contributor.authorFranklin, Jerry F.
dc.contributor.authorFulé, Peter Z.
dc.contributor.authorHagmann, R. Keala
dc.contributor.authorKnapp, Eric E.
dc.contributor.authorMiller, Jay D.
dc.contributor.authorSmith, Douglas F.
dc.contributor.authorSwetnam, Thomas W.
dc.contributor.authorTaylor, Alan H.
dc.identifier.citationStevens, J. T., Safford, H. D., North, M. P., Fried, J. S., Gray, A. N., Brown, P. M., ... & Taylor, A. H. (2016). Average stand age from forest inventory plots does not describe historical fire regimes in ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests of western North America. PLoS One, 11(5), e0147688.en_US
dc.description.abstractQuantifying historical fire regimes provides important information for managing contemporary forests. Historical fire frequency and severity can be estimated using several methods; each method has strengths and weaknesses and presents challenges for interpretation and verification. Recent efforts to quantify the timing of historical high-severity fire events in forests of western North America have assumed that the “stand age” variable from the US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program reflects the timing of historical high-severity (i.e. stand-replacing) fire in ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests. To test this assumption, we re-analyze the dataset used in a previous analysis, and compare information from fire history records with information from co-located FIA plots. We demonstrate that 1) the FIA stand age variable does not reflect the large range of individual tree ages in the FIA plots: older trees comprised more than 10% of pre-stand age basal area in 58% of plots analyzed and more than 30% of pre-stand age basal area in 32% of plots, and 2) recruitment events are not necessarily related to high-severity fire occurrence. Because the FIA stand age variable is estimated from a sample of tree ages within the tree size class containing a plurality of canopy trees in the plot, it does not necessarily include the oldest trees, especially in uneven-aged stands. Thus, the FIA stand age variable does not indicate whether the trees in the predominant size class established in response to severe fire, or established during the absence of fire. FIA stand age was not designed to measure the time since a stand-replacing disturbance. Quantification of historical “mixed-severity” fire regimes must be explicit about the spatial scale of high-severity fire effects, which is not possible using FIA stand age data.en_US
dc.publisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)en_US
dc.rightsThis is an open access article, free of all copyright. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.en_US
dc.titleAverage Stand Age from Forest Inventory Plots Does Not Describe Historical Fire Regimes in Ponderosa Pine and Mixed-Conifer Forests of Western North Americaen_US
dc.contributor.departmentSchool of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.departmentLaboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizonaen_US
dc.identifier.journalPLoS Oneen_US
dc.description.noteOpen access journalen_US
dc.description.collectioninformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at
dc.eprint.versionFinal published versionen_US
dc.source.journaltitlePLOS ONE

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