Chapter 3 - Broad-scale patterns of forest fire occurrence across the 50 United States and the Caribbean Territories, 2018This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
As a pervasive disturbance agent operating at many spatial and temporal scales, wildland fire is a key abiotic factor affecting forest health both positively and negatively. In some ecosystems, for example, wildland fires have been essential for regulating processes that maintain forest health (Lundquist and others 2011). Wildland fire is an important ecological mechanism that shapes the distributions of species, maintains the structure and function of fire-prone communities, and acts as a significant evolutionary force (Bond and Keeley 2005). At the same time, wildland fires have created forest health (i.e., sustainability) problems in some ecosystems (Edmonds and others 2011).