Navigation Links
79 years of monitoring demonstrates dramatic forest change
Date:1/6/2014

TUOLUMNE, Calif.Long-term changes to forests affect biodiversity and how future fires burn. A team of scientists led by Research Ecologist Dr. Eric Knapp, from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station, found dramatic differences in forests today compared to historic conditions prior to logging and fire suppression. The team conducted their research in the Forest Service's Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest on the Stanislaus National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada, remeasuring three large historical plots originally established in 1929 to evaluate the effects of different logging methods. Trees were counted and their diameters measured across entire plots and in neighboring unlogged areas with the same fire history. Understory vegetation (tree seedlings, shrubs, and leafy plants) was quantified to determine changes over a 79-year period. They also collected fire scar samples from nearby stumps and dead trees to pinpoint dates of previous forest fires.

As in many forested areas in the western U.S., fire is much less frequent than it once was. Results showed that the study area had not burned since 1889. Prior to 1889, the forest burned on average every six years.

The forest currently contains 2.4 times more trees than it did in 1929mostly in the small and intermediate size classes. The excess density was nearly identical in the plots logged in 1929 and plots without a history of logging, suggesting that over the long-term other factors, including fire suppression, may be exerting more influence than past logging on forest density and the current susceptibility to uncharacteristically severe fire. Historical logging removed many of the largest trees and often targeted the most fire-resistant pines. Very large trees were still less abundant than in the old-growth condition in 1929. The forest today also contains more fir and cedar and fewer pines than it once did. Shrubs, which provide food and cover for wildlife, covered 29 percent of the forest floor in 1929. Currently, the same shrubs cover only two percent of the forest floor a decline that appears to be the result of higher tree density.

"The forest changes we found in this study are emblematic of similar changes that have occurred in the absence of fire throughout the western U.S., and help to explain why fires such as the nearby Rim Fire burn as intensely as they now do," said Dr. Knapp.

The plots measured in this study are among the oldest known to still exist on Forest Service lands in California, and the historical data showing what the forest once looked like provide valuable information about how to restore greater fire resilience and improve biodiversity in forests today.


'/>"/>

Contact: Walita Kay Williams
walitakwilliams@fs.fed.us
510-559-6367
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Southwest Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. 25 years of DNA on the computer
2. Coral Centre awarded 7 years of funding
3. Pitt-led network gets $70 million over 7 years to develop, test HIV prevention products
4. A new species of horse, 4.4 million years old
5. Ancient fig wasp lived tens of millions of years before figs
6. Researchers quantify toxic ocean conditions during major extinction 93.9 million years ago
7. Study of Brazilian Amazon shows 50,000 km of road was built in just 3 years
8. Field Museum to receive federal grant for unlocking 350 million years of biodiversity
9. Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Our African follower for over 70,000 years!
10. Fukushima radioactive plume to reach US in 3 years
11. Highest winter losses in recent years for honey bees in Scotland
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  According to new research ... mainstream. More than 200 fingerprint, iris, and eye-vein ... under 70 brand names. This includes market leaders ... ZTE. Acuity projects that 600 million biometric smartphones ... global installed base. Maxine Most , ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... -- Vigilant Solutions announces today that its license plate recognition (LPR) ... Lee,s Summit Police Department to improve safety ... a homicide suspect. Kansas City , ... miles and is home to roughly 100,000 residents. ... license plate reader system and also leverages Vigilant,s network of ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 10, 2016 ... 2016 iris recognition market report, combined with ... more widely accepted for border control. Some ... and iris recognition technology in a single ... purchasing two individual biometrics devices. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... Biocom, the association representing the Southern ... San Diego companies to ... Medicine Advocacy Fly-In. Biocom Fly-In participants had the opportunity to ... the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the National ... Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, will include 848 exhibitors (count as ... companies will be displaying products and services used by the scientific community in ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12, 2016  BD (Becton, Dickinson and ... technology company, today announced the launch of the BD ... and Technology (AGBT) Meeting. --> ... genomic research by providing cost effective NGS library preparation ... a high-throughput, fully integrated, next generation sequencing (NGS) library ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... PLAINFIELD, N.J. , Feb. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the second annual STRIVE (Strategies to Realize ... Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). STRIVE provides funds to ... programs that will make meaningful contributions to the ... or fostering development of future patient advocates. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: