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Title: Influences of climate, fire, and topography on contemporary age structure patterns of Douglas-fir at 205 old forest sites in western Oregon

Author: Poage, Nathan J.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Impara, Peter C.; Tappeiner, John C.; Sensenig, Thomas S.;

Date: 2009

Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 39: 1518-1530

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Knowledge of forest development is basic to understanding the ecology, dynamics, and management of forest ecosystems. We hypothesized that the age structure patterns of Douglas-fir at 205 old forest sites in western Oregon are extremely variable with long and (or) multiple establishment periods common, and that these patterns reflect variation in regional-scale climate, landscape-scale topography, and landscape-scale fire history. We used estahlishment dates for 5,892 individual Douglas-firs from these sites to test these hypotheses. We identified four groups of old forest sites with fundamentally different Douglas-fir age structure patterns. Long and (or) multiple establishment periods were common to all groups. One group described old forests characterized by substantial establishment from the early 1500s to the mid-1600s, with decreasing establishment thereafter. Another group was characterized by peaks of establishment in the middle to late 1600s and in the late l800s and early 1900s. A third group was characterized by a small peak of establishment in the mid-1500s and a larger peak in the middle to late 1800s. Characteristic of the fourth group was the extended period of Douglas-fir establishment from the late 1600s to the late 1800s. Group membership was explained moderately well by contemporary, regional climatic variables and landscape-scale fire history, but only weakly by landscape-scale topography.

Keywords: forest ecosystems, stand age, old forest, western Oregon

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Poage, N.J.; Weisberg, P.J.; Impara, P.C.; Tappeiner, J.C.; Sensenig, T.S. 2009. Influences of climate, fire, and topography on contemporary age structure patterns of Douglas-fir at 205 old forest sites in western Oregon. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 39: 1518-1530.

 


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