The fires that ravaged Yellowstone National Park in 1988 were large and severe, but they were still within the normal limits of fire regimes in the West. Following those fires 30 years ago, Monica Turner, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of integrative biology, immediately got to work studying the recovery of the forests, and has continued to do so in the decades since. But as the climate becomes hotter and drier, those fire patterns are changing. Big and severe fires are now burning with more frequency, and this could pose a threat to the resilience of these complex ecosystems. Turner wants to know: Are the rules of the game changing? And, if so, what does that mean for the forests of the future?
Provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison