Tree regeneration following wildfires and defoliator outbreaks in mixed conifer forest of the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico

Authors: Nathan Gill*, Texas Tech University, Tara Durboraw, Texas Tech University
Topics: Biogeography, Mountain Environments, Physical Geography
Keywords: disturbance, fire management, forest ecology, pyrogeography, vegetation dynamics
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 9
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico, USA are home to sky island forests that offer unique opportunities to study post-disturbance regeneration across steep environmental gradients. These forests lie at the southernmost edge of the distribution of many North American tree species and may be indicative of conditions that are expected to affect broader regions of the Northern and Southern Rockies as climate continues to warm. We analyzed regeneration of five conifer and three broadleaf tree species following defoliator outbreaks and wildfires of varying severity that occurred over the last 100 years. Where disturbances pre-dated the satellite record, severity was estimated from tree ring-derived survivorship. In the summer of 2020, data were collected from 450 plots stratified across 150 sites of varying disturbance history. Ground cover, canopy cover, stand composition, coarse woody debris, slope, aspect, and elevation were also recorded at each site. PRISM climate data were used to estimate climatic conditions at each site. Generalized linear models were used to analyze factors contributing to variance in regeneration of trees by species. Initial results show different drivers of post-disturbance regeneration density by species.

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