5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Monday, 17 November 2003
True Mountain Mahogany Sprouting Behavior Following Fire
Li-Ming Liang, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; and P. N. Omi
Sprouting is an important strategy for shrub species persistence after disturbances. However, the mechanisms of shrub sprouting after fires remain poorly documented. We relate the sprouting behavior of true mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus Raf.) to fire severity gradients at the landscape scale following the Hi Meadow Fire (2000) in Colorado. We hypothesize that true mountain mahogany had more and taller basal sprouts in areas of low fire severity than in areas of high fire severity and unburned. Results from the Hi Meadow Fire suggested that true mountain mahogany was an obligate sprouter with basal sprouts and epicormic sprouts found in low severity areas, but only basal sprouts in high severity areas and only epicormic sprouts in unburned areas. Fire severity contributed to significant differences in sprouting behavior of true mountain mahogany, especially the length of sprouts one year after fire. Three objectives for ongoing study include: (1) investigate the physiological responses of true mountain mahogany in different fire severities of the Hayman burn (2002); (2) discover if true mountain mahogany sprouting behavior in different fire severities can be explained by root crown carbohydrate reserves and bud metabolic activities; (3) test if shrub sprouting behavior can be predicted with greater accuracy at the shrub versus landscape scale.

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