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Fire history, Stand Structure and Ecological Type Conversions in Mixed Conifer Forests, Northern Colorado Front Range
Presented by Ms. Laurie HUCKABY on 14 May 2013 from 09:30 to 09:50
Type: Oral Presentation
Session: Fire Ecology I
Track: Fire ecology
We reconstructed historical stand structures and fire regimes in mixed conifer forests between 2300 m and 2800 m elevation, spanning the last 1000 years. A mixed-severity disturbance regime maintained a spatial and temporal landscape mosaic. Dominance fluctuated between ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine. Before ~1350 C.E., higher elevations were dominated by ponderosa pine and surface fire regimes. These stands shifted to the present lodgepole pine and less frequent stand-replacing fire regimes during the Little Ice Age, though with a lag between climate change and stand-replacing disturbance precipitating the shift. Distribution of remnant wood pre-dating 1400 C.E. suggests that the lower elevation extent of forest occurred around 2500 m elevation, some 800 m higher than at present. Trees migrated downslope during climate-mediated episodes of establishment continuing into the 20th century. Similar dramatic shifts in species distributions and fire regimes may be expected in the near future as climate becomes warmer and drier.
Room: Salon D