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:3/15/2016)... Yissum Research Development Company of the ... the Hebrew University, announced today the formation of ... various human biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has completed its ... investors. ... electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, enables reliable and speedy ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... March 10, 2016 --> ... research report "Identity and Access Management Market by Component ... and Governance), by Organization Size, by Deployment, by Vertical, ... by MarketsandMarkets, The market is estimated to grow from ... by 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) ...
(Date:3/8/2016)... , March 8, 2016   Valencell , ... today announced it has secured $11M in Series ... Tech, a new venture fund being launched by ... participation from existing investors TDF Ventures and WSJ ... to continue its triple-digit growth and accelerate its ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... May 26, 2016 Despite the volatility ... in this space. Today,s pre-market research on ActiveWallSt.com directs the ... Inc. (NASDAQ: RDUS ), Cerus Corp. (NASDAQ: ... ), and Five Prime Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: FPRX ... at: http://www.activewallst.com/ On Wednesday, ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... FireflySci has been manufacturing ... laboratories all over the globe. Their cute firefly logo has been spreading to ... FireflySci makes spectrophotometer calibration standards that never require recalibration. These revolutionary standards ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The Ankle Plating System 3 and Small ... fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. This system marks Acumed's continued commitment ... is composed of seven plate families that span the lateral, medial, and posterior ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , ... May 25, 2016 , ... Scientists at the ... options being tried for mesothelioma may be hampering the research that could lead to ... Click here to read it now. , The team evaluated 98 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: