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Inhabitants of landscape scars: succession of woody plants after large, severe forest fires in Arizona and New Mexico

Sandra L. Haire, Kevin McGarigal


Summary - what did the authors do and why?

The authors looked at the influence of the spatial heterogeneity of burn severity on the succession of the woody plant community burned at high severity across an elevational gradient and distance from unburned edge.

Publication findings:

Cover of woody vegetation that regenerates via seeds were more abundant at shorter distances to unburned edges, which acted as refuge seed sources. However, cover of off-site seeders did not overlap with areas of abundant sprouting species. Pre-fire vegetation composition and structure influenced the post-fire distribution of sprouting species in high-severity burns. Elevation was not an important factor in determining cover at these sites.

Fire and Ecosystem Effects Linkages

Cover of woody vegetation that regenerates via seeds were more abundant at shorter distances to unburned edges, which acted as refuge seed sources. However, cover of off-site seeders did not overlap with areas of abundant sprouting species. Pre-fire vegetation composition and structure influenced the post-fire distribution of sprouting species in high-severity burns.

In high severity patches, cover of woody vegetation that regenerates via seeds were more abundant at shorter distances to unburned edges, which acted as refuge seed sources. Pre-fire vegetation composition and structure influenced the post-fire distribution of sprouting species in high-severity burns.