Conifer forests in northwestern Mexico have not experienced systematic fire suppression or logging, making them unique in western North America. Fire regimes of Pinus jeffreyi Grev. & Balf. mixed conifer forests in the Sierra San Pedro Martir, Baja California, Mexico, were determined by identifying 105 fire dates from 1034 fire scars in 105 specimens. Fires were recorded between 1521 and 1980 and median fire return intervals were less than 15 years at all compositing scales. Significant differences in mean fire return intervals were detected from 1700 to 1800, 1800 to 1900, and 1900 to 1997, most often at intermediate spatial compositing scales, and the proportion of trees scarred in the fires of the 1700s was significantly different from the fires of either the 1800s, the 1900s, or the combined post-1800 period. Superposed epoch analysis determined that moderate and large spatial scale fires occurred on significantly dry years during the length of the record, but before 1800, these fires were preceded by significantly higher precipitation 1 year before the fire. The dominance of earlywood fires in the Sierra San Pedro Martir is similar to the seasonality found in the southwest United States and is different from the western slope of the Sierra Nevada and Klamath Mountains of California.


Environmental Sciences



URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/nrm_fac/44