EnviroThursday - “Reconsidering the Role of People in Fire Regimes of Upper Great Lakes Red Pine Forests"

12:00 PM  - 1:00 PM
Thursday Mar 7, 2019
Olin-Rice Science Center 250

Speaker:  Kurt Kipfmueller, Associate Professor of Geography, Environment and Society, University of Minnesota

The dominant narrative concerning fire in Upper Great Lakes pine forests is one of infrequent fires that burn severely. This narrative has shaped concepts of fire management and forest restoration for several decades, but perhaps, needs some revision and modification.  If people made substantial contributions to the fire regime responsible for shaping these forests, how then should we view a concept of ‘wilderness’ that is largely devoid of people as integral ecosystem components? Using the information encoded in tree-rings, Kurt has reconstructed fire history in a growing number of locations in the Upper Great Lakes to better understand how fire operated as a disturbance agent in the past. His research presentation will discuss the relative roles of people, primarily the Anishnabeg, as important agents of fire ignition in Upper Great Lakes pine forests between ca. 1736–1900.

Kurt Kipfmueller earned his BS in Geography and Earth Science at Central Michigan University, an MA in Geography at the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. in Geography, while working at the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research at the University of Arizona. He has conducted extensive research on fire, climate variability, and mountain pine beetle epidemics in the Northern Rocky Mountains, and in general his work is focused on the development of disturbance histories.

Refreshments provided.

Contact: Ann Esson,

This event is for: Students, Staff, Faculty and Public

Sponsored By: Environmental Studies, Geography

Categories: Front Page Events, Lectures and Speakers and Campus Events