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Fine-scale mixed-severity fire fosters heterogeneous spatial patterns of conifer regeneration in a dry donifer forest
11:40 AM - 12:00 PM
Tue Nov 28, 2017
Sabal E


Authors: Paula J. Fornwalt; Sparkle L. Malone; Mike A. Battaglia; Marin E. Chambers; Jose M. Iniguez; Carolyn H. Sieg

Recent wildfires in dry conifer forests commonly contain areas that burned with an intricate mosaic of low-, moderate-, and high-severity fire, yet spatial patterns of conifer regeneration in such fine-scale mixed-severity areas are poorly studied. We examined how fine-scale mixed-severity fire impacted spatial patterns of post-fire regenerating conifers following the 2002 Hayman Fire, Colorado, USA. In 2013–2014, we installed replicated 4-ha plots and we mapped and measured all surviving and post-fire regenerating trees within them. Preliminary results indicate that the density of post-fire regenerating conifers ranged from 236 to 1032 stems ha-1. These conifers were spatially aggregated at distances up to around 30 m. Attributes reflecting the legacy of fire tended to be good predictors of spatial post-fire conifer regeneration intensity; for example, regenerating conifer intensity was greater in areas nearer to surviving conifers and in areas where fire severity was moderate. In contrast, attributes reflecting topography tended to be poor predictors of spatial post-fire conifer regeneration intensity in our plots. These results suggest that fine-scale mixed-severity fire fostered heterogeneous spatial patterns of conifer regeneration, and they provide a foundation for anticipating how such fire may affect longer-term stand structure, potential fire behavior, and other ecological properties and processes.

Sparkle Malone
Assistant Professor, Florida International University

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