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Project ID: 01-3-3-13

Year: 2002

Date Started: 02/05/2002

Date Completed: 07/17/2006

Title: Fire and Forest Structure Across Vegetation Gradients in San Juan National Forest, Colorado: A Multi-Scaled Historical Analysis

Project Proposal Abstract: Forest managers and planners in the San Juan National Forest of southwestern Colorado need better information about how fire and forest structure have varied across spatiotemporal scales and in response to regional climate variability and land use change. In response to Joint Fire Science Program's RFP 2001-3, Task 3, we propose to document fire regimes, forest structure, and fire/climate relationships across gradients in forest types, elevation, and landscape physiography in the Piedra River landscape, a 60,000 acre watershed in the southern portion of the Forest. Data developed by this study will provide information that has been lacking for forest and fire planning at landscape scales and across forest types of southwestern Colorado. Forest types to be studied include pinyon-juniper, ponderosa pine, and mixed-conifer/aspen forests. Our working hypothesis for the study is that changes in forest structure and composition over the recent century have varied as a (Unction of fire history, with ponderosa pine forests that experienced frequent surface fires having undergone greater changes in fUels and forest structure as a result of fire exclusion than either upper-elevation mixed-conifer or lower-elevation pinyon-juniper forests that burned less often. We wifi use state-of-the-art dendrochronological methods to reconstruct and compare fire timing, frequency, spatial patterning, severity, and seasonality, and resulting forest age structure, density, and composition in multiple randomly-determined plots across the study landscape. Dates of fires and forest age structure will also be compared to regional climate variability and land use change to determine relationships with these driving factors. Methods and results from the study will have direct applicability to both on-going and proposed forest restoration and fuels treatment programs in the San Juan and adjacent National Forests by providing baseline data on historical patterns and current conditions associated with fire suppression and land use over the past century.

Principal Investigator: Peter M. Brown

Agency/Organization: Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research, Inc

Branch or Dept:

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Rosalind Wu

Forest Service

San Juan National Forest

Federal Cooperator

Peter M. Brown

Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research, Inc

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Southern Rockies


There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
    2471 Journal Article Climate and Disturbance Forcing of Episodic Tree Recruitment in a Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Landscape
  go to website 780 Website  

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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