Published: May 1, 2010

Professor Tom Veblen is PI and recent CU graduates Andres Holz and Juan Paritsis are Postdoctoral Research Associates on a new NSF award entitled “Wildfire Regime Shifts in Southern South America from Tree-Ring Reconstructed Fire History Networks: Climatic Controls, Land Use, and Ecological Feedbacks.” The three-year award for $300,000 will also support collaboration with Thomas Kitzberger (CU Ph.D. 1994) of the Universidad del Comahue, Argentina. The research team will use tree rings to reconstruct fire history in the Patagonian Andes over the past 400 years and relate changes in wildfire activity to climate variability and changes in land-use practices. The study also will use satellite imagery and historical air photos in combination with field sampling to examine how recent increases in burning of relatively fire-resistant forests are promoting expansion of fire-prone shrublands, thus creating a positive feedback further enhancing fire potential.