Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine, (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) regenerates quickly after high severity fire because seeds from serotinous cones are released immediately post-fire. Sierra lodgepole pine (P. contorta var. murrayana) forests burn with variable intensity resulting in different levels of severity and because this variety of lodgepole pine does not have serotinous cones, little is known about what factors influence post-fire regeneration. This study quantifies tree regeneration in a low, moderate, and high severity burn patch in a Sierra lodgepole forest 24 years after fire. Regeneration was measured in ten plots in each severity type. In each plot, we quantified pre- and post-fire forest structure (basal area, density), counted and aged tree seedlings and saplings of all species, and measured distance to the nearest seed bearing tree. There was no difference in the density of seedlings and saplings among severity classes. Distance and direction to the nearest seed bearing lodgepole pine were the best predictors of lodgepole seedling and sapling density in high severity plots. In contrast to Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine, regeneration of Sierra lodgepole pine appears to rely on in-seeding from surviving trees in low or moderate severity burn patches or live trees next to high severity burn patches. Our data demonstrate that Sierra lodgepole pine follows stand development pathways hypothesized for non-serotinous stands of Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Nature and Landscape Conservation