Disturbance Patterns in Southern Rocky Mountain Forests

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Contribution to Book

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Forest Fragmentation in the Southern Rocky Mountains

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The pattern of landscape diversity in the Southern Rocky Mountains has been described as resulting from "two superimposed vegetation patterns: the distribution of species along gradients of limiting factors, and patterns of disturbance and recovery within the communities at each point along the environmental gradients" (Romme and Knight 1982). The previous chapter (D. H. Knight and W. A. Reiners, this volume) has emphasized the first pattern whereas this chapter emphasizes the role of natural disturbance in creating landscape patterns. Although human impacts on fundamentally natural disturbances such as fires and insect outbreaks are included, other chapters treat disturbances of exclusively human origin such as logging and road construction.