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Spatial patch patterns and altered forest structure in middle elevation versus upper ecotonal mixed-conifer forests, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA

J. N. Mast, J. J. Wolf


Summary - what did the authors do and why?

The authors analyzed the developmental spatial and structural patterns of mixed-conifer forest stands along an elevation gradient in response to altered disturbance regimes, specifically fire suppression.

Publication findings:

Subalpine species such as Englemann spruce have encroached into upper elevations of mixed-conifer due to fire suppression since the late 1800’s altering the composition of these stands. At the upper ecotone, no successful conifer establishment occurred during the 1870s and 1880s but aspen cohorts regenerated corresponding to the fire history of synchronized fires during this time.

Fire and Ecosystem Effects Linkages

Subalpine species such as Englemann spruce have encroached into upper elevations of mixed-conifer due to fire suppression since the late 1800’s altering the composition of these stands. At the upper ecotone, no successful conifer establishment occurred during the 1870s and 1880s but aspen cohorts regenerated corresponding to the fire history of synchronized fires during this time.