Multiproxy Approach to Reconstruct the Fire History of Araucaria araucana Forests in the Nahuelbuta Coastal Range, Chile

Ariel A. Muñoz, Mauro E. González, Isadora Schneider-Valenzuela, Karin Klock-Barría, Marcelo Madariaga-Burgos, Carmen Gloria Rodríguez, Ana M. Abarzúa, María Eugenia Solari, Alejandra Martel-Cea, Bárbara Velásquez, Beatriz Paredes, Fabián Guerrero, Mauricio Montiel, Valeria Tapia-Marzán, Tomás Riquelme, Paul R. Sheppard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiproxy reconstructions of fire regimes in forest ecosystems can provide a clearer understanding of past fire activity and circumvent some limitations of single proxy reconstructions. While inferring fire history from scars in trees is the most precise method to reconstruct temporal fire patterns, this method is limited in Araucaria araucana forests by rot after fire injuries, successive fires that destroy the evidence and the prohibition of sample extraction from living Araucaria trees. In this context, dendrochemical studies in Araucaria trees and charcoal analysis from sediment cores can complement and extend the time perspective of the fire history in the relictual Araucaria-Nothofagus forests of the coastal range. We used dendrochemical, fire scar and charcoal records from the Nahuelbuta Coastal Range (37.8° S; 73° W) spanning the last 1000 years to reconstruct the fire history. The results indicate that periods with higher fire activity occurred between 1400 and 1650 AD. Long-term changes in the fire regime are related to increased climate variability over the last 1000 years, and especially with the arrival of settlers to the area after 1860 CE. The most severe fire events in the Nothofagus and Araucaria forests occurred when suitable fire-prone conditions were superimposed with high human densities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1082
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Araucaria araucana
  • dendrochemistry
  • fire regimes
  • ICP-MS
  • Nahuelbuta range

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry


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