Future fire events of the northeastern United States are likely to vary in frequency, severity, and spatial distribution. Causes for these shifts can be understood in terms of changes in the geography, climate, fuels, and ignition sources that will govern the distribution of fire on future northeastern landscapes, all of which are projected to be different from current conditions and those of the historical past. I draw upon the well-studied, fire-prone ecosystems of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the frequently burned ecosystems of southern Africa as case studies to understand the pace and potential ecological consequences of altered fire patterns for the northeastern United States. I conclude by highlighting several lessons relevant for emerging northeastern fire policy, including the need to (1) confront generalities across a variety of ecosystems and disturbance regimes, (2) enable conditions that promote resiliency in the face of change, and (3) manage for key ecological functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-175
Number of pages21
JournalPenn State Environmental Law Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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