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Terminology and biology of fire scars in selected central hardwoods

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Smith, Kevin T.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy

Year Published



Tree-Ring Research. 57(2): 141-147.


Dendrochronological analysis of fire scars requires tree survival of fire exposure. Trees survive fire exposure by: (1) avoidance of injury through constitutive protection and (2) induced defense. Induced defenses include (a) compartmentalization processes that resist the spread of injury and infection and (b) closure processes that restore the continuity of the vascular cambium after fire injury. Induced defenses are non-specific and are similar for fire and mechanical injury. Dissection of central hardwood species in a prescribed fire treatment area in southeastern Ohio provided an opportunity to place features seen in dendrochronological samples into their biological context. Terms for these features are proposed and further discussion is solicited.


Compartmentalization; tree wound response; fire biology; fire scars; tree injury


Smith, Kevin T.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 2001. Terminology and biology of fire scars in selected central hardwoods. Tree-Ring Research. 57(2): 141-147.

Last updated on: June 6, 2013