Appalachian Laboratory

Past Watershed Moments March 2020

Wildfire in Appalachia: Fire history of the central Appalachians and the implications of a changing climate on our forests’ health

Thursday, March 5, 2020 

Major wildfires have dominated the news in recent years.  Devastating fires have burned in Australia, Indonesia, the Amazon, and in 2016, much closer to home, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, bringing with them significant personal, political, economic, and environmental consequences for the communities they affected.

As part of this timely Watershed Moment event, Dr. Deborah Landau, Conservation Ecologist with the Maryland/DC Chapter of the Nature Conservancy,  and Dr. Mark Cochrane, a wildfire ecologist at the Appalachian Laboratory,  shared the history of wildfire in the Central Appalachian Mountains and explained what science can tell us about the possible threat posed by fire to the region in the future.

“Looking back at the history of fire in Maryland is more important than ever as we work toward ensuring a healthy future for our forests in the Central Appalachians,” said Landau.  

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Recording of presentation

Lafon, Charles W.; Naito, Adam T.; Grissino-Mayer, Henri D.; Horn, Sally P.; Waldrop, Thomas A. 2017. Fire history of the Appalachian region: a review and synthesis. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-219. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station.