Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

Living Edition
| Editors: W. Jack Rink, Jeroen Thompson

Dendrochronology, Fire Regimes

  • Peter M. Brown
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_76-4


Use of tree-ring data and methods to reconstruct past fire timing, fire regimes, and fire effects on individuals, communities, and ecosystems.


Fire directly or indirectly affects woody plants in many ways, some of which will leave evidence in age or growth patterns in individual trees or community structure that can be cross-dated using dendrochronological methods. This evidence can be used to reconstruct past fire dates, fire regimes, and fire effects on individuals, communities, and ecosystems (“pyrodendroecology”). Fire regimes are defined as the combination of fire frequency, severity, size, seasonality, and relationships with forcing factors such as climate or changes in human land use.

Fire Evidence in Trees and Community Structure

A common type of fire evidence is from severe fire that kills all or most trees in an area which opens up space for new trees to establish. Even-aged forest structure is often used as evidence of past lethal fire, also referred...


Fire Regime Fire Effect Severe Fire Fire History Fire Timing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Brown, P. M., and Swetnam, T. W., 1994. A cross-dated fire history from a stand of coast redwood near Redwood National Park, California. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 24, 21–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brown, P. M., Wienk, C. L., and Symstad, A. J., 2008. Fire and forest history at Mount Rushmore. Ecological Applications, 18, 1984–1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Falk, D. A., Heyerdahl, E. K., Brown, P. M., Farris, C., Fulé, P. Z., McKenzie, D., Swetnam, T. W., Taylor, A. H., and Van Horne, M. L., 2011. Multicentury spatial dynamics of western North American forest fires from fire-scar networks. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8, 446–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Farris, C. A., Baisan, C. H., Falk, D. A., Yool, S. R., and Swetnam, T. W., 2010. Spatial and temporal corroboration of a fire-scar-based fire history in a frequently burned ponderosa pine forest. Ecological Applications, 20, 1598–1614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Friederici, P. (ed.), 2003. Ecological Restoration of Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Forests. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  6. Smith, K. T., and Sutherland, E. K., 2001. Terminology and biology of fire scars in selected central hardwoods. Tree-Ring Research, 57, 141–147.Google Scholar
  7. Swetnam, T. W., and Brown, P. M., 2010. Climatic inferences from dendroecological reconstructions. In Hughes, M. K., Diaz, H. F., and Swetnam, T. W. (eds.), Dendroclimatology: Progress and Prospects. Dordrecht: Springer. Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research, Vol. 11, pp. 263–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research, Inc.Fort CollinsUSA