Skip to Main Content
Drought-driven disturbance history characterizes a southern Rocky Mountain subalpine forestAuthor(s): R. Justin DeRose; James N. Long
Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 42: 1649-1660.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
View PDF (254.52 KB)
DescriptionThe view that subalpine forest vegetation dynamics in western North America are "driven" by a particular disturbance type (i.e., fire) has shaped our understanding of their disturbance regimes. In the wake of a recent (1990s) landscape- extent spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis Kirby) outbreak in the southern Rocky Mountains, we re-examined the temporal continuity in disturbance types and interactions and the possible role of drought on their occurrence by reconstructing antecedent disturbances for 11 sites across the Markagunt Plateau, southern Utah, USA. Multiple consistent lines of evidence suggested that historic fires were the primary antecedent disturbance, while relatively minor, stand-specific spruce beetle activity occurred later in stand development but prior to the recent outbreak. Unlike the recent outbreak, antecedent fires were spatially and temporally asynchronous over the period examined (~1600-2000). Reconstructed fire events primarily occurred during periods of prolonged drought. Similarly, historic spruce beetle activity, indicated by species-specific tree-ring release, and timing of Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelm.) death dates from the recent outbreak were related to drought conditions. Vegetation dynamics on this landscape were strongly driven by historic fires and the recent spruce beetle outbreak, and drought conditions likely influenced the occurrence of both disturbance types.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationDeRose, R. Justin; Long, James N. 2012. Drought-driven disturbance history characterizes a southern Rocky Mountain subalpine forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 42: 1649-1660.
Keywordsdrought, disturbance, subalpine forest
- Post-fire forest dynamics and climate variability affect spatial and temporal properties of spruce beetle outbreaks on a Sky Island mountain range
- Traumatic resin ducts as indicators of bark beetle outbreaks
- Spectral evidence of early-stage spruce beetle infestation in Engelmann spruce
XML: View XML