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Impact of fire, as a natural disturbance, on carbon cycling in Pinus contorta (lodgepole pine) forests

Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm. ex Wats.) stands in Yellowstone National Park by examining aboveground and belowground carbon pools, fluxes and allocation patterns in post-fire stands that varied in tree density and stand age (four forest types: low (<1000 trees/ha), moderate (7,000–40,000 trees/ha), and high tree densities (>50,000 trees/ha) in 13-yr-old stands; and ~110-yr-old mature stands).

Figure 8.  Fire is a natural disturbance in most forest ecosystems that drives tremendous spatial  heterogeneity across landscapes.  We are examining how fire impacts carbon pools  and fluxes  across Rocky Mountain landscapes through postfire legacies in stand age and tree density.

Publications to Date

Litton CM, Ryan MG, Knight DH (2004) Effects of tree density and stand age on carbon allocation patterns in postfire lodgepole pine. Ecological Applications, 14, 460-475. (PDF)

Turner MG, Tinker DB, Romme WH, Kashian DM, Litton CM (2004) Landscape patterns of sapling density, leaf area, and aboveground net primary production in postfire lodgepole pine forests, Yellowstone National Park (USA). Ecosystems, 7, 751-775. (PDF)

Litton CM, Ryan MG, Knight DH, Stahl PD (2003) Soil-surface CO2 efflux and microbial biomass in relation to tree density thirteen years after a stand replacing fire in a lodgepole pine ecosystem. Global Change Biology, 9, 680-696. (PDF)

Litton CM, Ryan MG, Tinker DB, Knight DH (2003) Belowground and aboveground biomass in young postfire lodgepole pine forests of contrasting tree density. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 33, 351-363. (PDF)