Skip to main content

Fire history and vegetation pattern in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, USA

M. Lisa Floyd-Hanna, William H. Romme, David D. Hanna

Summary - what did the authors do and why?

The authors reconstructed the long-term fire history of petran chaparral and piñon-juniper woodland communities in Mesa Verde National Park.

Publication findings:

Fire and Ecosystem Effects Linkages

The authors estimated the “natural” fire return interval for petran chaparral and shrubland vegetation in Mesa Verde at approximately 100 years and for piñon-juniper woodlands at approximately 400 years. The authors suggest that these long fire return intervals are unique to Mesa Verde and stands exist within the park that have not burned since 1300 AD and may be some of the oldest in the Four Corners region. They possess unique structural and compositional characteristics in their current condition.