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    In the late 1860s, Euro-American settlement and related activities, including logging, began affecting the composition and structure of forests of the western United States. These impacts were likely to be most substantial along the corridor of the trans-continental railroad. Construction and maintenance of the railroad created a high dependence for wood, especially the cutting of lodgepole pine forests for railroad ties (known as tie hacking). Although some of the impact has been documented, the amount of ecosystem change in lodgepole pine forests is not well known. In this study we attempt to reconcile and interpret three different accounts of forest history data; (1) a moderately detailed written historical record, (2) a contemporary plot-based forest inventory, and (3) a sedimentary record of pollen and charcoal. The goal of this study is to characterize recent changes to lodgepole pine forest in the Medicine Bow Range of southeastern Wyoming, in the context of the pre-settlement forests. In addition to landscape-level patterns of stand age and distribution, we found distinct patterns in charcoal and pollen deposition corresponding to three distinct periods of forest history: the pre-settlement period, the railroad tie-hacking period, and the modern forest management period.

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    Carter, V.; Brunelle, A.; Shaw, J. 2014. Disturbance history of the Medicine Bow Range, Wyoming, using historical documents, contemporary forest inventory, and lake sediment cores. The International Forestry Review. 16(5): 55.


    disturbance history, forest inventory, lodgepole pine forest, forest management

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