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Fire and Forest History from Charcoal, Monongahela NF, West Virginia, USA

Authors: Christopher Underwood*, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Larissa Schmock, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Topics: Biogeography, Environment, Environmental Science
Keywords: Fire, Biogeography, Appalachian Mountains
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Understanding the history of fire disturbance and vegetation dynamics within an ecosystem is important for giving context to land management practices. This research examines how macroscopic charcoal extracted from soil samples in the Central Appalachian Mountains on the Monongahela National Forest can be used to reconstruct a coarse fire regime and vegetation history over the span of a few thousand years. Charcoal contents in soil samples taken from fire-adapted forests on the Monongahela National Forest will be analyzed using radiocarbon dating to produce a timeline of fire occurrences. The charcoal was also used to identify woody vegetation species. Knowledge of relationships between past disturbances and landscape changes can influence decisions on land management and policy in the future.

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