Fire Management and Policy Since European Settlement

Scott L. Stephens and Neil G. Sugihara

in Fire in California's Ecosystems

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780520246058
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932272 | DOI:
Fire Management and Policy Since European Settlement

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This chapter asks how fire management and policies have changed since European settlement. It also describes the activities and events that have had the greatest effect on fire in California, why they occurred, and how they influenced fire regimes. The first significant impacts on fire regimes that the European civilization brought to California actually predate the arrival of large-scale permanent settlers by over a century. The removal of the Native Americans and their fire use had variable effects on California’s ecosystems. Invasive plant species have a greater impact in mesic conditions and at lower elevations than harsher alpine or subalpine ecosystems. An overview of some key historic fires from 1923 to 2005 is provided. Fire will continue as an important agent of change in many western ecosystems but one must strive to produce conditions where fire can become a positive force in most of California.

Keywords: fire management; European settlement; California; European civilization; fire policy; fire regimes; ecosystems

Chapter.  9944 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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