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Fire in California's Ecosystems$
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Neil Sugihara

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520246058

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520246058.001.0001

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Fire Management and Policy Since European Settlement

Fire Management and Policy Since European Settlement

Chapter:
(p.431) chapter 18 Fire Management and Policy Since European Settlement
Source:
Fire in California's Ecosystems
Author(s):

Scott L. Stephens

Neil G. Sugihara

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520246058.003.0018

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

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