Reconstruction of historical fire regimes along an elevation and vegetation gradient in the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico
AdvisorSwetnam, Thomas W.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to reconstruct historical fire regimes along an elevation and vegetation gradient in the Sacramento Mountains, NM. I cross-dated fire-scarred specimens to reconstruct the fire history within two mixed-conifer, four ponderosa pine, and two pinon-juniper stands. Prior to Euro-American settlement, historical fire intervals were estimated at 6 years in ponderosa pine, 10 years in mixed-conifer, and 27 years in pinon-juniper forests. To evaluate whether Native Americans may have influenced historical fire regimes, I cross-dated scars from peeled trees found within the study area. Comparison between scar dates, historical records, and variations in fire frequencies did not show a regional effect on historical fire regimes by Mescalero, but suggested that they may have had a local impact on fire frequencies of the late 1700's. Following Euro-American settlement (ca. 1880) fire was nearly absent from the study area due to livestock grazing and fire suppression.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Renewable Natural Resources