Thomas W Swetnam

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Western United States forest wildfire activity is widely thought to have increased in recent decades, yet neither the extent of recent changes nor the degree to which climate may be driving regional changes in wildfire has been systematically documented. Much of the public and scientific discussion of changes in western United States wildfire has focused(More)
Ecological responses to climatic variability in the Southwest include regionally synchronized fires, insect outbreaks, and pulses in tree demography (births and deaths). Multicentury, tree-ring reconstructions of drought, disturbance history, and tree demography reveal climatic effects across scales, from annual to decadal, and from local (,102 km2) to(More)
Applied historical ecology is the use of historical knowledge in the management of ecosystems. Historical perspectives increase our understanding of the dynamic nature of landscapes and provide a frame of reference for assessing modern patterns and processes. Historical records, however, are often too brief or fragmentary to be useful, or they are not(More)
As the climate changes, drought may reduce tree productivity and survival across many forest ecosystems; however, the relative influence of specific climate parameters on forest decline is poorly understood. We derive a forest drought-stress index (FDSI) for the southwestern United States using a comprehensive tree-ring data set representing AD 1000–2007.(More)
The purpose of this paper is to promote a broad and flexible perspective on ecological restoration of Southwestern (U.S.) ponderosa pine forests. Ponderosa pine forests in the region have been radically altered by Euro-American land uses, including livestock grazing, fire suppression, and logging. Dense thickets of young trees now abound, oldgrowth and(More)
Fire scar and tree growth chronologies (1700 to 1905) and fire statistics (since 1905) from Arizona and New Mexico show that small areas burn after wet springs associated with the low phase of the Southern Oscillation (SO), whereas large areas burn after dry springs associated with the high phase of the SO. Through its synergistic influence on spring(More)
Widespread synchronous wildfires driven by climatic variation, such as those that swept western North America during 1996, 2000, and 2002, can result in major environmental and societal impacts. Understanding relationships between continental-scale patterns of drought and modes of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO),(More)
Topography, vegetation, and climate act together to determine thespatial patterns of fires at landscape scales. Knowledge oflandscape-fire-climate relations at these broad scales (1,000s hato 100,000s ha) is limited and is largely based on inferences andextrapolations from fire histories reconstructed from finer scales. In thisstudy, we used long time(More)