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Colorado pinyon (Pinus edulis) population dynamics and climate variability in an old growth woodland over the last 1500 years on the Tavaputs Plateau, northeastern Utah
Presented by Dr. Troy KNIGHT on 15 May 2013 from 18:00 to 21:00
Type: Poster Presentation
Session: Poster Session + Reception
Board #: 44
Long-term demographic datasets of tree populations improve our understanding of forest response to climatic fluctuation and change. Excellent preservation of remnant wood on the Tavaputs Plateau in northeastern Utah provides the opportunity to investigate population dynamics of Colorado pinyon (Pinus edulis), and its relation to climate variability over multiple centuries. From a sample of 597 pinyon trees, we found estimated establishment dates extending back to the 7th century BC. Significant numbers of samples are not available until the 5th century AD. Preservation is nearly matched by extreme longevity as several trees exceed 1000 years in age. Low frequency patterns of tree establishment and mortality suggest multi-centennial scale cycles in population densification and subsequent thinning and die-back. While this may result from the rise and decline of dominant cohorts of long lived trees, decadal scale demographic patterns within these broad swings are related to drought and subsequent climatic recovery.