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Climate & Weather

Climate change may increase the drought stress of mesophytic trees downslope with ongoing forest mesophication under a history of fire suppression

Hwang et al., 2020

In mountainous headwater catchments, downslope flow of subsurface water could buffer downslope forest communities from soil moisture stress during drought. Here we investigated changes in landscape-scale vegetation patterns at five forested headwater catchments in the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in the southern Appalachians. We used a ca. 30-year Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) image record of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), spanning a period of recorded warming since the mid-1970. We then, related spatial and temporal canopy...

Climate change projected to reduce prescribed burning
opportunities in the south-eastern United States

Kupfer et al., 2020

Prescribed burning is a critical tool for managing wildfire risks and meeting ecological objectives, but its safe and effective application requires that specific meteorological criteria (a ‘burn window’) are met. Here, we evaluate the potential impacts of projected climatic change on prescribed burning in the south-eastern United States by applying a set of burn window criteria that capture temperature, relative humidity and wind speed to projections from an ensemble of Global Climate Models under two greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Regionally, the percentage of suitable days ...

Climatic and topographic controls on patterns of fire
in the southern and central Appalachian Mountains, USA

Flatley et al., 2011

Climate and topography are two important controls on spatial patterns of fire disturbance in forests globally, via their influence on fuel moisture and fuel production. To assess the influences of climate and topography on fire disturbance patterns in a temperate forest region, we analyzed the mapped perimeters of fires that burned during 1930–2003 in two national parks in the eastern United States. These were Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) in the ...

Fire history and its relations with land use and climate over three centuries in the central Appalachian Mountains, USA

Aldrich et al., 2014

Our aims were to: (1) reconstruct the fire history of pine–oak forests in the central Appalachian Mountains, USA, with an annual resolution over as long a time period as possible using dendroecological techniques; (2) estimate the frequency of fire in the study area before the fire-suppression era; and (3) investigate how variations in land use and climate have affected the occurrence of fire in the study area...

Fire history, related to climate and land use in three southern Appalachian landscapes in the eastern United States

Flatley et al., 2013

Fire-maintained ecosystems and associated species are becoming increasingly rare in the southern Appalachian Mountains because of fire suppression policies implemented in the early 20th century. Restoration of these communities through prescribed fire has been hindered by a lack of information on historical fire regimes. To characterize past fire regimes, we collected and absolutely dated the tree rings on cross sections from 242 fire-scarred trees at three different sites in the southern Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Our ...

Oak, Fire, and Global Change in the eastern USA: What might the future hold?

Vose & Elliott, 2016

The pace of environmental and socioeconomic change over the past 100 years has been rapid. Changes in fire regimes, climate, and land use have shaped the structure and function of most forest ecosystems, including oak (Quercus spp. L.) forests in the eastern United States. New stressors such as air pollution and invasive species have contributed to and
interacted with climate and fire to alter current forest conditions. While changing fire regimes have altered species composition of the current forest, oak regeneration is constrained by many factors that may affect future forests...

Predicting Fire Frequency
with Chemistry and Climate

Guyette et al., 2012

A predictive equation for estimating fire frequency was developed from theories and data in physical chemistry, ecosystem ecology, and climatology. We refer to this equation as the Physical Chemistry Fire Frequency Model (PC2FM). The equation was calibrated and validated with North American fire data (170 sites) prior to widespread industrial influences (before 1850 CE) related to land use, fire suppression, and recent climate change to minimize non-climatic effects. We derived and validated the empirically based PC2FM for the purpose of estimating...

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