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Webinar: Getting to the Core - Utilizing paleoecology to understand fire in the northeast

Presenter: Madi Landrum, Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program and Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine

In this hour-long webinar on February 22, 2023, we heard from Madi Landrum, as she explored the role of paleoecology in fire management decisions on the land in the northeast.


Webinar Abstract


The need to understand long-term natural and human influences on fire is becoming increasingly important as global climate change increases the frequency and severity of forest fires in the northeastern United States. Meanwhile, there is a growing appreciation for the role Indigenous peoples have played in maintaining ecosystems over millennia. While climate is largely thought to be the main driver of regional ecosystem processes in the northeast, the role of fire, including Indigenous fire management, is actively debated. Historical accounts and Indigenous oral knowledge (e.g. place names) indicate that Native peoples have used fire to create mosaic landscapes throughout the northeast, which is likely to have influenced local diversity and species composition, altering overall forest structure. During this presentation, we will walk through historical records, Indigenous Knowledge, modern ecological studies, and paleoecological studies, both new and old, that provide insight into the fire history of Maine. By combining these various ways of knowing, we will begin to explore our knowledge gaps regarding fire in Maine and expand our capacity to model future fire scenarios and manage for resilient landscapes in a warming world.


Madi Landrum Madi is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program and Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, who is studying the differences between human- and climate-caused changes in forest structure in the northeastern United States. Since receiving her B.S. in Environmental Biology from Cazenovia College, she has worked throughout the U.S. in salt deserts, grasslands, subalpine systems, and temperate rainforests researching plant systems and teaching people about their local ecology. She also enjoys long-distance hiking, rock climbing, and botanizing with her dog, Oreo.

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