Paired charcoal and tree-ring records of high-frequency Holocene fire from two New Mexico bog sites

Craig D. Allen, Scott R Anderson, Renata B. Jass, Jaime L. Toney, Christopher H. Baisan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two primary methods for reconstructing paleofire occurrence include dendrochronological dating of fire scars and stand ages from live or dead trees (extending back centuries into the past) and sedimentary records of charcoal particles from lakes and bogs, providing perspectives on fire history that can extend back for many thousands of years. Studies using both proxies have become more common in regions where lakes are present and fire frequencies are low, but are rare where high-frequency surface fires dominate and sedimentary deposits are primarily bogs and wetlands. Here we investigate sedimentary and fire-scar records of fire in two small watersheds in northern New Mexico, in settings recently characterised by relatively high-frequency fire where bogs and wetlands (Chihuahueños Bog and Alamo Bog) are more common than lakes. Our research demonstrates that: (1) essential features of the sedimentary charcoal record can be reproduced between multiple cores within a bog deposit; (2) evidence from both fire-scarred trees and charcoal deposits documents an anomalous lack of fire since ∼1900, compared with the remainder of the Holocene; (3) sedimentary charcoal records probably underestimate the recurrence of fire events at these high-frequency fire sites; and (4) the sedimentary records from these bogs are complicated by factors such as burning and oxidation of these organic deposits, diversity of vegetation patterns within watersheds, and potential bioturbation by ungulates. We consider a suite of particular challenges in developing and interpreting fire histories from bog and wetland settings in the Southwest. The identification of these issues and constraints with interpretation of sedimentary charcoal fire records does not diminish their essential utility in assessing millennial-scale patterns of fire activity in this dry part of North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-130
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

Fingerprint

bogs
growth rings
bog
charcoal
tree ring
Holocene
fire scars
fire history
wetlands
wetland
lakes
lake
watershed
history
bioturbation
dead wood
ungulate
ungulates
oxidation

Keywords

  • Alamo Bog
  • CHAPS
  • Chihuahueños Bog
  • Fire scars
  • Jemez Mountains
  • Replicated charcoal records

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Paired charcoal and tree-ring records of high-frequency Holocene fire from two New Mexico bog sites. / Allen, Craig D.; Anderson, Scott R; Jass, Renata B.; Toney, Jaime L.; Baisan, Christopher H.

In: International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2008, p. 115-130.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Allen, Craig D. ; Anderson, Scott R ; Jass, Renata B. ; Toney, Jaime L. ; Baisan, Christopher H. / Paired charcoal and tree-ring records of high-frequency Holocene fire from two New Mexico bog sites. In: International Journal of Wildland Fire. 2008 ; Vol. 17, No. 1. pp. 115-130.
@article{91465ae70e134fc9aed20eac2cb357ac,
title = "Paired charcoal and tree-ring records of high-frequency Holocene fire from two New Mexico bog sites",
abstract = "Two primary methods for reconstructing paleofire occurrence include dendrochronological dating of fire scars and stand ages from live or dead trees (extending back centuries into the past) and sedimentary records of charcoal particles from lakes and bogs, providing perspectives on fire history that can extend back for many thousands of years. Studies using both proxies have become more common in regions where lakes are present and fire frequencies are low, but are rare where high-frequency surface fires dominate and sedimentary deposits are primarily bogs and wetlands. Here we investigate sedimentary and fire-scar records of fire in two small watersheds in northern New Mexico, in settings recently characterised by relatively high-frequency fire where bogs and wetlands (Chihuahue{\~n}os Bog and Alamo Bog) are more common than lakes. Our research demonstrates that: (1) essential features of the sedimentary charcoal record can be reproduced between multiple cores within a bog deposit; (2) evidence from both fire-scarred trees and charcoal deposits documents an anomalous lack of fire since ∼1900, compared with the remainder of the Holocene; (3) sedimentary charcoal records probably underestimate the recurrence of fire events at these high-frequency fire sites; and (4) the sedimentary records from these bogs are complicated by factors such as burning and oxidation of these organic deposits, diversity of vegetation patterns within watersheds, and potential bioturbation by ungulates. We consider a suite of particular challenges in developing and interpreting fire histories from bog and wetland settings in the Southwest. The identification of these issues and constraints with interpretation of sedimentary charcoal fire records does not diminish their essential utility in assessing millennial-scale patterns of fire activity in this dry part of North America.",
keywords = "Alamo Bog, CHAPS, Chihuahue{\~n}os Bog, Fire scars, Jemez Mountains, Replicated charcoal records",
author = "Allen, {Craig D.} and Anderson, {Scott R} and Jass, {Renata B.} and Toney, {Jaime L.} and Baisan, {Christopher H.}",
year = "2008",
doi = "10.1071/WF07165",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "17",
pages = "115--130",
journal = "International Journal of Wildland Fire",
issn = "1049-8001",
publisher = "CSIRO",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Paired charcoal and tree-ring records of high-frequency Holocene fire from two New Mexico bog sites

AU - Allen, Craig D.

AU - Anderson, Scott R

AU - Jass, Renata B.

AU - Toney, Jaime L.

AU - Baisan, Christopher H.

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - Two primary methods for reconstructing paleofire occurrence include dendrochronological dating of fire scars and stand ages from live or dead trees (extending back centuries into the past) and sedimentary records of charcoal particles from lakes and bogs, providing perspectives on fire history that can extend back for many thousands of years. Studies using both proxies have become more common in regions where lakes are present and fire frequencies are low, but are rare where high-frequency surface fires dominate and sedimentary deposits are primarily bogs and wetlands. Here we investigate sedimentary and fire-scar records of fire in two small watersheds in northern New Mexico, in settings recently characterised by relatively high-frequency fire where bogs and wetlands (Chihuahueños Bog and Alamo Bog) are more common than lakes. Our research demonstrates that: (1) essential features of the sedimentary charcoal record can be reproduced between multiple cores within a bog deposit; (2) evidence from both fire-scarred trees and charcoal deposits documents an anomalous lack of fire since ∼1900, compared with the remainder of the Holocene; (3) sedimentary charcoal records probably underestimate the recurrence of fire events at these high-frequency fire sites; and (4) the sedimentary records from these bogs are complicated by factors such as burning and oxidation of these organic deposits, diversity of vegetation patterns within watersheds, and potential bioturbation by ungulates. We consider a suite of particular challenges in developing and interpreting fire histories from bog and wetland settings in the Southwest. The identification of these issues and constraints with interpretation of sedimentary charcoal fire records does not diminish their essential utility in assessing millennial-scale patterns of fire activity in this dry part of North America.

AB - Two primary methods for reconstructing paleofire occurrence include dendrochronological dating of fire scars and stand ages from live or dead trees (extending back centuries into the past) and sedimentary records of charcoal particles from lakes and bogs, providing perspectives on fire history that can extend back for many thousands of years. Studies using both proxies have become more common in regions where lakes are present and fire frequencies are low, but are rare where high-frequency surface fires dominate and sedimentary deposits are primarily bogs and wetlands. Here we investigate sedimentary and fire-scar records of fire in two small watersheds in northern New Mexico, in settings recently characterised by relatively high-frequency fire where bogs and wetlands (Chihuahueños Bog and Alamo Bog) are more common than lakes. Our research demonstrates that: (1) essential features of the sedimentary charcoal record can be reproduced between multiple cores within a bog deposit; (2) evidence from both fire-scarred trees and charcoal deposits documents an anomalous lack of fire since ∼1900, compared with the remainder of the Holocene; (3) sedimentary charcoal records probably underestimate the recurrence of fire events at these high-frequency fire sites; and (4) the sedimentary records from these bogs are complicated by factors such as burning and oxidation of these organic deposits, diversity of vegetation patterns within watersheds, and potential bioturbation by ungulates. We consider a suite of particular challenges in developing and interpreting fire histories from bog and wetland settings in the Southwest. The identification of these issues and constraints with interpretation of sedimentary charcoal fire records does not diminish their essential utility in assessing millennial-scale patterns of fire activity in this dry part of North America.

KW - Alamo Bog

KW - CHAPS

KW - Chihuahueños Bog

KW - Fire scars

KW - Jemez Mountains

KW - Replicated charcoal records

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=39449100275&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=39449100275&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1071/WF07165

DO - 10.1071/WF07165

M3 - Article

VL - 17

SP - 115

EP - 130

JO - International Journal of Wildland Fire

JF - International Journal of Wildland Fire

SN - 1049-8001

IS - 1

ER -