Influence of fire on curlleaf mountain-mahogany in the Intermountain West
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): G. Gruell; S. C. Bunting; L. Neuenschwander
Editor(s): J. E. Lotan; J. K. Brown
Publication Year: 1985

Cataloging Information

  • age classes
  • Cercocarpus ledifolius
  • climax vegetation
  • competition
  • conifers
  • cover
  • crowns
  • disturbance
  • European settlement
  • fire exclusion
  • fire frequency
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • forage
  • habitat conversion
  • habitat types
  • histories
  • Idaho
  • Juniperus osteosperma
  • litter
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • openings
  • overstory
  • photography
  • Pinus monophylla
  • plant communities
  • population density
  • population ecology
  • post fire recovery
  • presettlement fires
  • regeneration
  • sampling
  • seedlings
  • statistical analysis
  • succession
  • Utah
  • wildfires
  • wildlife
  • woody plants
  • Wyoming
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 33561
Tall Timbers Record Number: 7726
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.88:INT-186
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Comprehensive sampling of curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) on 41 sites in five States allowed an assessment of postfire population dynamics, differences in regeneration patterns, and critical events in stand regeneration. Historical accounts of fire, fire history studies, and early photographs provided historical perspective and contributed to interpretations. The combined quantitative and historical evidence strongly suggests that before European settlement, fire significantly influenced mahogany in the Northern Rockies by restricting its development. A reduction of fire periodicity and size following EuroAmerican settlement apparently allowed mahogany seedlings to regenerated far in excess of former levels. The absence of fire for long periods has resulted in great variation in structure of mahogany stands. Many stands are in a declining condition because the absence of fire has allowed them to reach advanced stages of succession. In some areas, closure of mahogany crowns, excessive litter accumulation, and competition from other vegetation are inhibiting regeneration. In other areas, young vigorous mahogany predominate. These wide differences in stand conditions suggest different management strategies. Many mahogany communities would respond positively to fire, whereas others would not. Management implications are given.

Gruell, G., S. C. Bunting, and L. Neuenschwander. 1985. Influence of fire on curlleaf mountain-mahogany in the Intermountain West, in Lotan, J. E. and Brown, J. K., Fire's Effects on Wildlife Habitat. Missoula, Montana. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station,General Technical Report INT-186.