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why do sequoia trees need fire

why do sequoia trees need fire

(In press). As Research Biologist at Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, my primary research interests are the impact of fires on the sequoia-mixed conifer forest ecosystem and the role of fire in maintaining natural environmental conditions in this and other vegetation types in the Sierra Nevada. The work of the beetle causes the older cones to dry on the tree. And, as you’ll see in the parks, sequoias can withstand fire. A few rare giant sequoias have grown taller than 300 feet, but it is the sequoia’s giant girth that sets it apart. Ph.D. Thesis, Univ. In detailed studies of small 7 to 10-acre plots involving sugar pine, incense-cedar, white fir, and ponderosa pine, frequencies in the range of 7 to 9 years seem to be developing. This article was adapted from a paper presented as part of the AAAS Symposium in Philadelphia, December, 1971, on Research in the National Parks. Fire appears to be essential to the life cycle of the giant sequoia, and as such, to the whole ecosystem. ln our first major effort at reducing such fuel hazards in the sequoia-mixed conifer forest, some 100 acres of forest were burned under prescribed conditions in late summer and early fall of 1969 on the ridge of Redwood Mountain. But how often did fire play this role in the past? The result is that over the years, fire (in combination with other factors such as exposure, slope, soil type, insects, and disease) brings about the development of a mosaic of age classes and vegetation types. A fire gives them 3 things they need for regeneration. But these processes are far slower than fire, and it is doubtful whether these organisms have ever played the complete decomposition role without fire. The major current problem in management of the giant sequoia-mixed conifer forest is the high fire hazard that has built up since the turn of the century. 51(6):1046-1051. The National Park Service is greatly interested in studies of wood smoke now being undertaken by the University of California and the Forest Service. Through our fire suppression programs, we have slowed this cycle and allowed the buildup of perhaps the highest degree of fire hazard ever observed in sequoia communities (Hartesveldt, 1964). Fire appears to be essential to the life cycle of the giant sequoia, and as such, to the whole ecosystem. Such thickets provice fuel which could support a crown fire fatal to even mature sequoias. Young pines can both germinate and survive in openings because the small accumulation of needle fall from somewhat distant large trees will not support a surface fire. In describing the way in which such a mosaic is formed within a ponderosa pine forest, Weaver (1967) said, "Periodic burning causes development of uneven-aged stands, comprised of even-aged groups of trees of various age classes." Naturalist 22(1):39-47. Jour. Fire often burns in a highly variable pattern. The cycle of minerals in forest ecosystem. The first one is, it punches a hole in the forest - that allows there to be more light and more water for the sequoia seedlings. Giant sequoias are the largest trees on Earth. As the cone dries, it opens, and the seeds fall from high in the trees. Research Biologist But without fire, they cannot reproduce. Concern is sometimes expressed about the public's willingness to accept fire in the forest. Midl. We take every opportunity to explain reasons for our "let burn" program in higher elevation forest types and for the use of prescribed fire in our lower elevation forests. Fire was the key environmental factor that initiated new successions, controlled species composition and age structure of the forest, and produced the mosaic of vegetation which supported the animal components of these communities. These two photos, taken eighty years apart in the confederate Group, Mariposa Grove, yosemite National Park, illustrate the successional process which occurs in the absence of fires. (In press). LEOPOLD, A. S. 1966. In Role of Fire in the Intermountain West Symp.

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