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Post-fire conifer regeneration in ponderosa pine forests of the southern Rocky Mountains, USA

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

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Primary Audience: Other Professionals