FHiRE: Fire & Humans in Resilient Ecosystems
This is a project funded by the National Science Foundation, Dynamics of Coupled Human-Natural Systems
In the past half-century many thousands of homes have been built within North American forests dominated by ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) trees. These forests and communities are now extremely vulnerable to large, severe fires during droughts as a consequence of fire exclusion and other land use practices. Through a historical case study, this project tests alternative hypotheses of how human activities at the Wildland Urban Interface affect the response of fire-adapted pine forests to climate change and conversely, how humans respond to these changes over multiple centuries. The study area is an ancient Wildland Urban Interface in northern New Mexico where large communities of Native American farmers lived within ponderosa pine forests through varying climate episodes over the last 1,000 years. Archaeology and paleoecology will be combined to build multi-century fire and forest histories across gradients of human population sizes, ranging from large towns to relatively unoccupied areas. Dynamic computer models will be developed, and using paleoclimatic data as input they will simulate fire and forest histories across the landscape and through time. Tested against the local fire histories, these simulations will be varied in the magnitude and location of human impacts to identify tipping points in the sustainability of these forests and human communities.
Fire & Climate History in Siberia
This is a collaborative project funded by NASA (and sub-contracts through US Forest Service)
We are using both modern and paleo-fire reconstructions to evaluate relationships with changing climate patterns, variations in vegetation and fire weather patterns to estimate historic fire emissions and impacts of fire on carbon cycle at landscape to regional scales in Siberia.
Our part of this project is aimed at developing a network of fire-scar chronologies from several sub-regions in Siberia, and using these chronologies to extend our understanding of fire, climate and carbon variations over the past several centuries.
Collaborators: Tom Swetnam (UA co-PI), Gallina Ivanova (Sukachev Instit., RAS, co-PI), Sue Conard, overall PI of the project), Amber Soja, Brian Stocks, Anatoly Sukhinin, Brian Stocks, Don Cahoon, Bill DeGroot, Chris Baisan, and others
Fire & Climate Synthesis, North America
WIth support form the USDI/USDA Joint Fire Science Program and the US Forest Service, we are assembling a state-of-knowledge of fire climatology in the western United States. This work encompasses several sub-projects, including a study of modern and paleofire and climate data to identify recent patterns, associations, trends, etc., both temporally and spatially. Other major components include translational products for managers and decision makers, and a study of policy responses to past major fire events and seasons.
Collaborators: Tom Swetnam (PI), Don Falk, ELaine Sutherland, Peter Brown, Tim Brown, Emily Heyerdahl, Thomas Kitzberger, Tony Westerling, Mike Crimmins, Gregg Garfin