Wildfires in the southern Rocky Mountain
region have increased in size, frequency, and severity over the past three decades,
but forest recovery following high severity wildfire events is uncertain in
this region. We studied conifer regeneration in 11 fires in Colorado, South
Dakota, and Wyoming in unburned, low-to-moderately burned, and severely burned
areas. Our preliminary findings indicate that conifer regeneration is occurring
in high severity burn areas across the southern Rockies region, but at low
densities, particularly in comparison to unburned and low-to-moderate severity
burn areas. Our preliminary results also indicate that distance from surviving
forest and climatic water deficit are influencing conifer regeneration within
high severity burn areas.
Marin Chambers is a research associate with the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute at Colorado State University. She has done botany and forestry research in the southern Rocky Mountain region in montane, subalpine, and alpine ecosystems. Her primary interests are disturbance and restoration ecology, specifically forest recovery, resilience, and adaptation in relationship to forest management, natural disturbances such as wildfire or insect/disease outbreaks, and climate change.
Created by Megan Dettenmaier