Cascading Effects of Fire Exclusion in Rocky Mountain Ecosystems : A Literature Review

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The health of many Rocky Mountain ecosystems is in decline because of the policy of excluding fire in the management of these ecosystems. Fire exclusion has actually made it more difficult to fight fires, and this poses greater risks to the people who fight fires and for those who live in and around Rocky Mountain forests and rangelands. This paper discusses the extent of fire exclusion in the Rocky Mountains, then details the diverse and cascading effects of suppressing fires in the Rocky Mountain landscape by spatial scale, ecosystem characteristic, and vegetation type. Also discussed are the varied effects of fire exclusion on some important, keystone ecosystems and human concerns.


This item was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.