History and Future of Fire in Hardwood and Conifer Forests of the Great Lakes-Northeastern Forest Region, USA
Contribution to Book
Fire Ecology and Management: Past, Present, and Future of US Forested Ecosystems
The Great Lakes-Northeastern forest region from Minnesota to New England has varied climates and site conditions that allow diverse fire regimes. In the coldest, boreal forests, infrequent high-severity fires maintain jack pine forests or birch-aspen-spruce-fir-forests. Moderately frequent, mixed-severity fires maintain red/white pine forests on sites with shallow or sandy soils. Fires are least frequent in northern hardwood forests, but can interact with wind-thrown timber to cause intense fires and patches of birch-aspen forests within a late successional matrix. On sandy northern hardwood sites, moderate-severity fires regulate the balance between pines and oaks, and late successional species. Burning by Native Americans created areas of multi-aged pine and oak forests, and savannas, regardless of the fire regime that would have occurred given the climate and soil conditions. These historical fire regimes have been altered by fire exclusion, so that late successional species have gained dominance in most forest types. However, warming climate and use of prescribed fire may reverse this trend.
Frelich L.E., Lorimer C.G., Stambaugh M.C. (2021) History and Future of Fire in Hardwood and Conifer Forests of the Great Lakes-Northeastern Forest Region, USA. In: Greenberg C.H., Collins B. (eds) Fire Ecology and Management: Past, Present, and Future of US Forested Ecosystems. Managing Forest Ecosystems, vol 39. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-73267-7_7