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  • Historical Human Causes and Uses of Fire in Alaska
  • Natcher, D. C
  • Chapin, F. Stuart; Primary Investigator
  • Rupp, T Scott; Senior Investigator
  • Wiesznewski, Josh
  • Bonanza Creek LTER
  • 2007-10-25
  • Although wildfire has been central to the ecological dynamics of interior Alaska for 5000 years, the role of humans in this dynamic is not well known. As a multidisciplinary research team, together with Native community partners, we analyzed patterns of human-fire interaction in two contiguous areas of Interior Alaska occupied by different Athabaskan groups. The Koyukon Athabascans in the western Interior considered fire a destructive force and had no oral history or stories suggesting use of fire for landscape management. Low lightning strike density and moist climate constrained occurrence of lightning fires, and a subsistence dependence on a predictable resource (salmon) resulted in a relatively sedentary settlement pattern. In this environment wildfire near communities might have negatively impacted hunting opportunities. In contrast, the Gwich'in Athabascans of the eastern Interior actively used fires to manage the landscape. Lightning fires occurred more frequently here because of greater lightning strike density and warmer summer temperatures. The Gwich'in showed greater mobility in hunting their less spatially predictable subsistence base (moose and caribou), which enabled them to move when wildfires altered local habitat. These striking contrasts between two neighboring Athabaskan groups sharing a contiguous boundary indicated different use and views of fire that were consistent with cultural adaptation to local biophysical and ecological settings. This contrasts with the commonly held view that Native peoples of North America pervasively modified landscapes through use of fire.
  • N: 75.0      S: 50.0      E: -120.0      W: -180.0
  • Data Use This work has been produced as part of the Long Term Ecological Research Program and data users should adhere to the Data Use Agreement of the Long Term Ecological Research Network. Citation It is considered a matter of professional ethics to acknowledge the work of other scientists. Thus, the Data User should properly cite the Data Set in any publications or in the metadata of any derived data products that were produced using the Data Set. Citation should take the following general form: Creator(s), Year of Data Publication, Title of Dataset, Publisher, Dataset identifier, Dataset URL, Dataset DOI. For Example: Van Cleve, Keith; Chapin, F. Stuart; Ruess, Roger W. 2016. Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest: Hourly Temperature (sample, min, max) at 50 cm and 150 cm from 1988 to Present, Bonanza Creek LTER - University of Alaska Fairbanks. BNZ:1, doi:10.6073/pasta/725db90d86686be13e6d6b2da5d61217. Acknowledgement The Data User should acknowledge any institutional support or specific funding awards referenced in the metadata accompanying this dataset in any publications where the Data Set contributed significantly to its content. Acknowledgements should identify the supporting party, the party that received the support, and any identifying information such as grant numbers. For example: Data are provided by the Bonanza Creek LTER, a partnership between the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the U.S. Forest Service. Significant funding for collection of these data was provided by the National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research program (NSF Grant numbers DEB-1026415, DEB-0620579, DEB-0423442, DEB-0080609, DEB-9810217, DEB-9211769, DEB-8702629) and by the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station (Agreement # RJVA-PNW-01-JV-11261952-231). Notification The Data User will notify the Data Set Contact when any derivative work or publication based on or derived from the Data Set is distributed. Collaboration The Data Set has been released in the spirit of open scientific collaboration. Data Users are thus strongly encouraged to consider consultation, collaboration and/or co-authorship with the Data Set Creator. Disclaimer While substantial efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of data and documentation contained in this Data Set, complete accuracy of data and metadata cannot be guaranteed. All data and metadata are made available in its present condition. The Data User holds all parties involved in the production or distribution of the Data Set harmless for damages resulting from its use or interpretation.
  • doi:10.6073/pasta/93b53c8805c2c0314b087b2ad910623b

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