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Fire Ecology and Management: Past, Present, and Future of US Forested Ecosystems

  • Book
  • © 2021


  • Relevant for the UN Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land
  • Broad overview and comparison of ecosystem/ecoregion-specific fire regimes (frequency, severity, scale, spatial patterns) across US forest types
  • Provides perspective on how climate change may alter fire regimes and forests in the future
  • Useful and informative to ecologists and forest managers striving to sustain forest communities
  • Focus on a ubiquitous disturbance - fire - as a driver of forest composition across differing levels of fire-dependency of plant and animal communities

Part of the book series: Managing Forest Ecosystems (MAFE, volume 39)

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About this book

This edited volume presents original scientific research and knowledge synthesis covering the past, present, and potential future fire ecology of major US forest types, with implications for forest management in a changing climate. The editors and authors highlight broad patterns among ecoregions and forest types, as well as detailed information for individual ecoregions, for fire frequencies and severities, fire effects on tree mortality and regeneration, and levels of fire-dependency by plant and animal communities.

The foreword addresses emerging ecological and fire management challenges for forests, in relation to sustainable development goals as highlighted in recent government reports.  An introductory chapter highlights patterns of variation in frequencies, severities, scales, and spatial patterns of fire across ecoregions and among forested ecosystems across the US in relation to climate, fuels, topography and soils, ignition sources (lightning or anthropogenic), and vegetation. Separate chapters by respected experts delve into the fire ecology of major forest types within US ecoregions, with a focus on the level of plant and animal fire-dependency, and the role of fire in maintaining forest composition and structure. The regional chapters also include discussion of historic natural (lightning-ignited) and anthropogenic (Native American; settlers) fire regimes, current fire regimes as influenced by recent decades of fire suppression and land use history, and fire management in relation to ecosystem integrity and restoration, wildfire threat, and climate change. The summary chapter combines the major points of each chapter, in a synthesis of US-wide fire ecology and forest management into the future.

This book provides current, organized, readily accessible information for the conservation community, land managers, scientists, students and educators, and others interested in how fire behavior and effects on structure and composition differ among ecoregions and forest types, and what that means for forest management today and in the future.  

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Table of contents (12 chapters)

Editors and Affiliations

  • USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit, Asheville, USA

    Cathryn H. Greenberg

  • Department of Biology, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, USA

    Beverly Collins

About the editors

Cathryn (Katie) H. Greenberg is a Research Ecologist with the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit, USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest in Asheville NC. Her research focuses on developing information and tools that are useful to forest managers and planners. Research areas include effects of disturbances such as prescribed fire, wildfire, wind blowdowns, and timber harvests, on wildlife communities, native fleshy fruit and acorn production, and forest structure in the southern Appalachians. She has also studied the ecology of coastal plain forests and wetlands, including long-term monitoring of amphibian and reptile populations in relation to wetland hydrology and climate. 

​Beverly Collins is a professor of plant ecology at Western Carolina University. She and her students study the effects of natural and human-caused disturbances, invasive species, and the changing climate on southern Appalachian ecosystems. Through her career she has also studied the ecology and dynamics of southeastern coastal plain and piedmont forests in South Carolina, Georgia, and western Tennessee.   

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Fire Ecology and Management: Past, Present, and Future of US Forested Ecosystems

  • Editors: Cathryn H. Greenberg, Beverly Collins

  • Series Title: Managing Forest Ecosystems

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Biomedical and Life Sciences, Biomedical and Life Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-73266-0Published: 02 October 2021

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-73269-1Published: 03 October 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-73267-7Published: 01 October 2021

  • Series ISSN: 1568-1319

  • Series E-ISSN: 2352-3956

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVII, 502

  • Number of Illustrations: 6 b/w illustrations, 65 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Ecosystems, Forestry Management, Climate Change/Climate Change Impacts, Applied Ecology, Terrestial Ecology

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