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The relative influence of climate and fire on subalpine forest productivity in the Wallowa Mountains, northeast Oregon
Presented by Ms. Sara ALLEN on 16 May 2013 from 13:40 to 14:00
Type: Oral Presentation
Session: Fire Ecology III
Track: Fire ecology
We estimated subalpine forest productivity over the past 300 years in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon using basal area increment (BAI) data from 462 trees across 13 stands of varying age, setting, and successional status. We examined this record in the context of climate variability and disturbance. Landscape-scale BAI was significantly correlated with annual temperatures over the instrumental record (r = 0.64, p < 0.0001) and increased monotonically with stand age, resulting in older forests being more productive than younger forests. Taken together, these data suggest that climate change projections of warmer temperatures will likely increase forest productivity, but that predicted increases in fire activity will reduce mean forest age on the landscape and reduce overall forest productivity. Modeling the forests of this landscape based on our data suggest that the size of fires in the future will have more influence on landscape-scale productivity than the frequency of fires.