Product Type: Book, Pages in
Author(s): Allen, C.D
Allen, C.D. 2002. Lots of lightning and plenty of people: An ecological history of fire in the upland southwest. In: T.R. Vale (ed.). Fire, Native Peoples, and the Natural Landscape. Washington: Island Press. p. 143-193.
Copyright held by Island Press. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington, D.C. Island Press .
Was the pre-European Southwest a region of wild landscapes, shaped primarily by natural processes like lightning-ignited fire, or did people substantially mold these lands into regional-scale artifacts through their use of fire and other means? Perspectives on this question have varied markedly through time and between scholars, as evident from the quotes interspersed through this chapter (see Box 5.1). As the American frontier closed around the turn of the nineteenth century, lightning was rarely considered a primary cause of fire, with most fires in western forests assumed to be human-ignited. Native Americans were thought to have been the primary source of burning in the Southwest until Euro-Americans usurped that role after ca. 1850. Today, lightning-ignited fire is widely acknowledged to be an ancient and essential ecological process in the American Southwest (Pyne 1995a:282-283; Swetnam and Baisan 1996a; Bogan et al. 1998), for millennia structuring landscapes from low-elevation desert grasslands to montane forests…