A natural issue concerns the design of efficient fuels management strategies in heterogeneous western ecosystems. Efforts to address this issue are underway, but analysis is hampered by the lack of long time series for individual locations and by the difficulty of drawing conclusions from comparisons of observations of short duration across very diverse landscapes with different management histories.
We address this problem with a case study of the history of fire and land management in the southern Sierra Nevada, focusing in particular on the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park and the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. We compare changes in fire regimes over time under different management regimes for locations with similar climate, topographic, and ecosystem characteristics in neighboring federal land management units. Statistical analyses are performed using comprehensive data on large fire histories and climate records starting from the second decade of the 20th Century, records of recent decadesí land management activities(such as prescribed burning, mechanical thinning, and timber harvesting), and historical accounts of earlier management practices.