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Natural variability in forests of the Grand Canyon, USA

Peter Z. Fulé, W. Wallace Covington, Margaret M. Moore, Thomas A. Heinlein, Amy E. M. Waltz


Summary - what did the authors do and why?

The authors reconstructed historical forest tree structure of ponderosa pine-dominated sites in the Grand Canyon to current species composition, tree structure and regeneration. They also considered the interacting effects of climate, fire, grazing, and other disturbance on any changes in forest structure and composition.

Publication findings:

Both climate fluctuations, fire suppression, and land use (i.e. grazing, timber harvest, etc.) have increased the tree densities of forests in Grand Canyon National Park., although the patterns of composition and regeneration varied along fire regime and elevational gradients. In forests where fire has been suppressed long-term, sites are dense and dominated by seed-reproducing conifer species, whereas more frequent fire site regeneration is dominated by sprouting species in the understories of open pine forest.

Fire and Ecosystem Effects Linkages

In forests where fire has been suppressed long-term, sites are dense and dominated by seed-reproducing conifer species, whereas more frequent fire site regeneration is dominated by sprouting species in the understories of open pine forest.

Both climate fluctuations, fire suppression, and land use (i.e. grazing, timber harvest, etc.) have increased the tree densities of forests in Grand Canyon National Park., although the patterns of composition and regeneration varied along fire regime and elevational gradients.