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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Predicting fire frequency with chemistry and climate


This project developed a predictive model for estimating fire frequency based on theories and data in physical chemistry, ecosystem ecology, and climatology.  We applied this model to produce maps of fire frequency under current climate and several climate warming scenarios across the United States. Results of the project provide information on fire frequency under alternative climate scenarios, information needed to parameterize forest landscape change models.

This work provides baseline parameters needed for modeling landscape change under alternative climate scenarios, and the immediate use will be by researchers at the University of Missouri. Ultimately this will lead to tools that will be used by a wide range of stakeholders concerned with management of forests for climate adaptation.


Guyette, R. P., M. C. Stambaugh, D. Dey, F. R. Thompson III, J. Whittier.  2014. Using physical chemistry and tree rings to calculate the likelihood of fire. At the 9th International Conference on Dendrochronology in Melbourne, Australia, 13-17 January, 2014.  
Guyette, R. P., F. R. Thompson III, J. Whittier, M. C. Stambaugh, D. Dey.  2014. A Great Plains story of fire and climate. At the Drought Symposium on life, culture and landscapes of the Great Plains, April 1-4, Lincoln, Nebraska
Guyette, R. P., F. R. Thompson III, J. Whittier, M. C. Stambaugh, D. Dey.  2013.  Future and past fire variability in North American ecosystems calculated with the physical chemistry of climate. At the ‘North American Forest Ecology Work Shop’, Bloomington, Indiana. June 13-15, 2013.