Comparing Soil Characteristics with Vegetation in a Ponderosa Pine Forest
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The vegetation of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests of the American Southwest have changed in the last century due to the elimination of low-severity surface fires. A natural ponderosa pine forest consists of older pines trees above and a grassy understory. The altered structure, dense forests of younger trees and shrubs, promote high-severity crown fires. These crown fires followed by a prolonged drought in the 1950s, dramatically transformed the ecosystem. Using the vegetation of trees that regenerated, as well as certain characteristics of soil from the site, this study was done to see if there was a relationship between the two. This study examines four soil characteristics: texture, percent gravel, nutrients and pH, and compares them to the tree vegetation above. To see if each characteristic was a significant factor in the regeneration, a hypothesis that greatest ponderosa pine regeneration were made for each characteristic. From all the characteristic hypotheses, an overall conclusion that these soil characteristics was not significant in the ponderosa pine recovery after a drought and crown fire.
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