This state-of-knowledge review about the effects of fire on flora and fuels can assist land managers with ecosystem and fire management planning and in their efforts to inform others about the ecological role of fire. Chapter topics include fire regime classification, autecological effects of fire, fire regime characteristics and postfire plant community developments in ecosystems throughout the United States and Canada, global climate change, ecological principles of fire regimes, and practical considerations for managing fire in an ecosystem context.
Keywords: ecosystem, fire effects, fire management, fire regime, fire severity, fuels, habitat, plant response, plants, succession, vegetation
In 1978, a national workshop on fire effects in Denver, Colorado, provided the impetus for the "Effects of Wildland Fire on Ecosystems" series. Recognizing that knowledge of fire was needed for land management planning, state-of-the-knowledge reviews were produced that became known as the "Rainbow Series." The series consisted of six publications, each with a different colored cover, describing the effects of fire on soil, water, air, flora, fauna, and fuels.
The Rainbow Series proved popular in providing fire effects information for professionals, students, and others. Printed supplies eventually ran out, but knowledge of fire effects continued to grow. To meet the continuing demand for summaries of fire effects knowledge, the interagency National Wildfire Coordinating Group asked Forest Service research leaders to update and revise the series. To fulfill this request, a meeting for organizing the revision was held January 4-6, 1993, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The series name was then changed to "The Rainbow Series." The five-volume series covers air, soil and water, fauna, flora and fuels, and cultural resources.
The Rainbow Series emphasizes principles and processes rather than serving as a summary of all that is known. The five volumes, taken together, provide a wealth of information and examples to advance understanding of basic concepts regarding fire effects in the United States and Canada. As conceptual background, they provide technical support to fire and resource managers for carrying out interdisciplinary planning, which is essential to managing wildlands in an ecosystem context. Planners and managers will find the series helpful in many aspects of ecosystem-based management, but they will also need to seek out and synthesize more detailed information to resolve specific management questions.
Chapter 1 - Introduction and Fire Regimes * Chapter 2 - Fire Autecology * Chapter 3 - Fire in Northern Ecosystems * Chapter 4 - Fire in Eastern Ecosystems * Chapter 5 - Fire in Western Forest Ecosystems * Chapter 6 - Fire in Western Shrubland, Woodland, and Grassland Ecosystems * Chapter 7 - Fire in Tropical and Subtropical Ecosystems * Chapter 8 - Global Change and Wildland Fire * Chapter 9 - Ecological Principles, Shifting Fire Regimes and Management Considerations
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