Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Recovery and changes in plant communities from two large fires in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona, USA
by Maghran, Lauren A., M.S., The University of Arizona, 2014, 120; 1569963
Abstract (Summary)

Following wildfire, plant communities may recover to pre-fire states, or remain altered in structure and function. I quantified fire severity's influence on vegetation in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. I sampled tree and shrub species in plots using a stratified random design across fire severities in five forested communities. I reconstructed pre-fire conditions for comparison. Data from a 1984 (pre-fire) study were used to substantiate these reconstructions and establish pre-fire shrub species cover. I performed nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMS) and ordination, which confirmed overstory pre-fire reconstructions. Tree composition in higher severity plots diverged from pre-fire plots in all but oak/ pinyon/juniper community. Ordination of shrub components indicated novel configurations. Intermixing of upper- elevation tree communities with those historically confined to lower elevation suggests fire has disrupted vegetation inertia, initiating novel ecological change. Re-structuring is consistent with projections that interactions of disturbance and climate change facilitate movement to higher elevation zones.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Falk, Donald A.
Commitee: Archer, Steven, Malusa, Jim
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Natural Resources
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 54/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Natural Resource Management
Keywords: Fire ecology, Fire effects, Forestry, Plant ecology
Publication Number: 1569963
ISBN: 978-1-321-37175-8
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