Full Citation: Cocke, Allison E.; Fulé, Peter Z.; Crouse, Joseph E. 2005. Forest change on a steep mountain gradient after extended fire exclusion: San Francisco Peaks, Arizona, USA. Journal of Applied Ecology 42(5):814-823.
External Identifier(s): 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2005.01077.x Digital Object Identifier
Location: San Francisco Peaks, Arizona, U.S.
Ecosystem types: Ponderosa pine; mixed conifer; aspen; spruce–fir; bristlecone.
Southwest FireCLIME Keywords: None
FRAMES Keywords: dendrochronology, fire exclusion, fire management, Arizona, forest change, wilderness management, elevation gradient, Abies lasiocarpa, arid regions, Cervus elaphus, coniferous forests, crown fires, fire frequency, ecosystem dynamics, elevation, European settlement, grazing, fire regimes, forest management, fuel accumulation, fuel loading, heavy fuels, livestock, mesic soils, national forests, Picea, Pinus aristata, Pinus engelmannii, Pinus flexilis, Pinus ponderosa, population density, Populus tremuloides, Pseudotsuga menziesii, regeneration, sloping terrain, succession, surface fires, vegetation surveys, wilderness areas, wildfires

Forest change on a steep mountain gradient after extended fire exclusion: San Francisco Peaks, Arizona, USA

Allison E. Cocke, Peter Z. Fulé, Joseph E. Crouse


Summary - what did the authors do and why?

The authors compared current forest vegetation structure and composition across an elevational gradient to a dendrochronological reconstruction of vegetation from 1876 to understand the effects of forest management, specifically fire exclusion.


Publication findings:

All forest types were significantly less dense in 1876 compared to 2000; however, the changes were less apparent in the higher altitude forests. The authors observed a shift in composition toward more mesic species in lower altitude forests. They suggest that because fire frequencies are typically longer in higher altitude forests, the impact of fire exclusion was not as great as low altitude forests where frequent fire thinned encroaching fire-susceptible mesic species.

Fire and Ecosystem Effects Linkages

All forest types were significantly less dense in 1876 compared to 2000; however, the changes were less apparent in the higher altitude forests. The authors observed a shift in composition toward more mesic species in lower altitude forests. They suggest that because fire frequencies are typically longer in higher altitude forests, the impact of fire exclusion was not as great as low altitude forests where frequent fire thinned encroaching fire-susceptible mesic species.