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    Using fire scars and growth release in subfossil Scots pine to reconstruct prehistoric fires

    Lageard, JGA, Thomas, PA and Chambers, FM (2000) Using fire scars and growth release in subfossil Scots pine to reconstruct prehistoric fires. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 164 (1-4). pp. 87-99. ISSN 0031-0182

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    Fire scars indicating low- to moderate-intensity fires on peat deposits have been sampled from subfossil Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) at sites in England, Wales and south-west Ireland. Analysis of ring-width responses to one fire event in 2800 BC illustrates its rejuvenating effect on Pinus sylvestris woodland, supporting a growing body of modern and palaeoecological data that illustrates the regenerative role played by fire in persistence of Pinus sylvestris woodland. Both the scale and timing of these fires suggest that infrequent low- to moderate-intensity fires are sufficient to stimulate Pinus sylvestris growth. This effect is shown by average increases in ring-width following the fire of between 0.62 and 1.16 mm in non-scarred trees and between 0.92 and 2.74 mm in fire-scarred individuals. Growth release in non-scarred trees may prove to be a more reliable method of detecting fire than using the relatively rare fire scars alone. Radii at time of scarring varied between 1.85 and 11.2 cm, much smaller than is predicted to survive from modern studies. © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

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