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Landscape Ecology of Large, Infrequent Fires in Yellowstone Park

This Issue focuses on a research article by Turner et al. (2003) that was published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The article discusses the ecological causes and effects of intense, infrequent fires such as the large fire that occurred during 1988 in Yellowstone National Park. Turner et al. synthesize 15 years of research on vegetation and ecological processes at Yellowstone and discuss how factors such as fire intensity, patch size, plant species, and the type of forest factor in to a complex pattern of causes and effects. In this Issue, students explore some of those factors using two figures from the original research article and five figures from Ecological Monographs.
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Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords Frontiers; Monographs; fire; intensity; patch; succession; Yellowstone National Park; landscape; disturbance; TIEE; pedagogy; student active
Key taxa lodgepole pine; Pinus contorta; graminoid; forb
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description Frontiers Issues are designed to help faculty use a Frontiers article in the classroom. The Turner et al (Frontiers, 2003) paper can be used to discuss many ecological topics, including: fire ecology, disturbance, landscape ecology, patches, adaptations of trees to fire, and succession. Students will also be interested in the more applied aspects and some will likely recall seeing this or similar fires in the news. For example, the Bush Administration used this and other large fires to promote the “healthy forests” initiative. Also, as discussed in the Scientific Teaching section of the Issue, the Turner et al. paper is a good opportunity to discuss misconceptions that students may have about the effects that fires and fire management have on forests.
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Hampshire College, School of Natural Sciences
Primary Author email
Rights Copyright 2005 by Charlene D'Avanzo and the Ecological Society of America.
Date Of Record Submission 2007-11-01

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