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Fire regimes and forest structure in pine ecosystems of Arizona, U.S.A., and Durango, Mexico

Fule, Peter Z (1996) Fire regimes and forest structure in pine ecosystems of Arizona, U.S.A., and Durango, Mexico. Doctoral thesis, Northern Arizona University.


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Frequent, low-intensity fire regimes are keystone ecological processes in long-needled pine forests of western North America. This study compared related ecosystems in the southwestern U.S., where extended fire exclusion has led to the development of unsustainably dense forests, and in northern Mexico, where forests have a complex mix of fire regimes. In Arizona, U.S.A., reference conditions of the historic fire disturbance regime and forest structure prior to Euro-American settlement (circa 1880 A.D.) of a Pinus ponderosa landscape were quantified. Presettlement fire return intervals averaged 4 years for all fires and 7 years for widespread fires. After excluding fire, forest density increased from an average of 148 trees/ha in 1883, an open forest dominated by relatively large pines, to 1,265 trees/ha in 1994/95, a dense forest of relatively small and young trees. Species composition has shifted toward greater dominance by Quercus and conifers less-adapted to frequent fires (Abies and Pseudotsuga)

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Fire behavior, Fire effects, Spatial Dynamics, ERI Library, Ecological Restoration Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Department/Unit: Research Centers > Ecological Restoration Institute
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2017 21:11
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/2801

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