Title

Impact of fire suppression on a mixed-conifer forest

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Forest Ecology and Management

Publication Date

1979

Volume

2

Publisher

Elsevier

First Page

21

Last Page

33

Abstract

One hundred years of fire suppression in a mixed-conifer forest which evolved with frequent natural fires has shifted successional patterns, increased the density of small trees, produced an unnatural accumulation of ground fuels. Analysis of species composition, vegetation structure and age distribution in each of four forest types within the mixed-conifer zone of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California, has documented a substantial increase in young, shade tolerant white fir in each type. The original dominant species have decreased in relative abundance in most cases. The sequioa type has been most affected by the fire suppression policy. Giant sequioa show poor reproduction in the absence of fire. The sequoia type also exhibits the greatest accumulation of ground fuels. The ponderosa pine, white fir and mixed forest types also show successional changes as well as significant accumulations of flammable ground fuels following a century of fire exclusion. The management implications of these findings are discussed.

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