Findings from Northern Arizona University Broaden Understanding of Forestry
2012 APR 26 - (VerticalNews.com) -- "Severe forest fires worldwide leave behind large quantities of dead woody debris and regenerating trees that can affect future ecosystem trajectories. We studied a chronosequence of severe fires in Arizona, USA, spanning 1 to 18 years after burning to investigate postfire woody debris and regeneration dynamics," scientists writing in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere report.
"Snag densities varied over time, with predominantly recent snags in recent fires and broken or fallen snags in older fires. Coarse woody debris peaked at > 60 Mg/ha in the time period 6-12 years after fire, a value higher than previously reported in postfire fuel assessments in this region. However, debris loadings on fires older than 12 years were within the range of recommended management values (11.2-44.8 Mg/ha). Overstory and regeneration were most commonly dominated by sprouting deciduous species. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa C. Lawson var. scopulorum Engelm.) overstory and regeneration were completely lacking in 50% and 57% of the sites, respectively, indicating that many sites were likely to experience extended periods as shrublands or grasslands rather than returning rapidly to pine forest," wrote J.P. Roccaforte and colleagues, Northern Arizona University.
The researchers concluded: "More time is needed to see whether these patterns will remain stable, but there are substantial obstacles to pine forest recovery: competition with sprouting species and (or) grasses, lack of seed sources, and the forecast of warmer, drier climatic conditions for coming decades."
Roccaforte and colleagues published their study in Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere (Woody debris and tree regeneration dynamics following severe wildfires in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere, 2012;42(3):593-604).
Additional information can be obtained by contacting J.P. Roccaforte, Northern Arizona University, Sch Forestry, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, United States.
The publisher of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere can be contacted at: Canadian Science Publishing, Nrc Research Press, 1200 Montreal Road, Building M-55, Ottawa, On K1A 0R6, Canada.
Keywords: City:Flagstaff, State:Arizona, Country:United States, Region:North and Central America
This article was prepared by VerticalNews Agriculture editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2012, VerticalNews Agriculture via VerticalNews.com.