Comparison of Steppe-Shrub Ecoregion of Great Plains and Steppe Forests of Patagonia

Topics: Climate, 20th century, Forest Pages: 3 (1530 words) Published: October 29, 2014

Aaron Malgren
Comparison Paper 1
Great Basin and Patagonia
Ecoregions found across the globe consist of similarities related to fire and cross-examining these regions provides insight to management. Comparing regions that have similar ecosystems allows for a greater understanding of how the environment has an effect on fire as well as how fire effects the environment. The comparison of fire regimes and history between the sage-steppe ecoregion found in the Great Basin of the US, as well as the steppe forests found in Patagonia is a good example. Fire Regimes

Fire has played an integral role in the changes in the steppe forests of Patagonia throughout history and in recent times. Fire occurs in the area at a rate of less than 10-40 years (Huber and Matkgraf, 2003). Reduced fuels and discontinued fuel structure result in the small-scale size of fires in the steppe forests (Huber and Matkgraf, 2003). Fuel loads play a part in decreased fire intensity and severity (Huber and Matkgraf, 2003). Climate also plays a large factor in fire regime of the steppe forest of Patagonia. In particular, the Southern Annual Mode (SAM) and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are linked to warmer temperatures and reduced precipitation in the October to March months. Fire occurrence peaks in the latter half of the 20th century are directly linked to SAM and ENSO activity (Veblen, Kitzberger, Villalba, & Donnegan, 1999; Veblen, Holz, Paritsis, Raffaele, Kitzberger, & Blackhall, 2011). In contrast to the small scale, infrequent fires found present in the steppe forests of Patagonia, the sage-steppe ecoregion of the Great Basin has experienced a very different association with fire. The large area of the sage-steppe ecoregion opens up for varying fire intervals due to topography, landscape context including vegetation, and fuel continuity (Bunting, n.d.). Fire intervals range from decades to centuries, with a productive fire regime ranging from 15-25 years (Bunting,...

Cited: Bunting, S (n.d.). Lecture 5.2: Great Basin [Online Slides]. Retrieved from University of Idaho Forestry Global Fire Ecology and Management Blackboard Learn:
Huber UM, Matkgraf V (2003) European impact on fire regimes and vegetation dynamics at the steppe-forest ecotone of southern Patagonia. The Holocene 13(4), 567-579.
Miller RF, Heyerdahl EK (2008) Fine-scale variation of historical fire regimes in sagebrush-steppe and juniper woodland: an example from California, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire 17, 245–254.
Miller RF, Rose JA (1999) Fire history and western juniper encroachment in sagebrush steppe. Journal of Range Management 52, 550-559.
Veblen TT, Kitzberger T, Villalba R, Donnegan J (1999) Fire history in Northern Patagonia the roles of human and climatic variation. Ecological Monographs 69, 47-67.
Veblen TT, Holz, A, Paritsis, J, Raffaele, E, Kitzberger, T, Blackhall, M (2011) Adapting to global environmental change in Patagonia. What role for disturbance ecology? Austral Ecology 36, 891-903.
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