Fire regimes of quaking aspen in the Mountain West

TitleFire regimes of quaking aspen in the Mountain West
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsShinneman, DJ, Baker, WL, Rogers, PC, Kulakowski, D
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Start Page22
Date Published07/2013
KeywordsFire regime, Populus tremuloides, technical reports and journal articles

Quaking aspen, the most widespread tree species in North America, reproduces primarily by resprouting from roots. In some stands, mortality from fire encourages sprouting and prevents conifers from eventually replacing aspen. In other areas, aspen can form stable communities that do not require fire to regenerate or persist. USGS fire ecologist Doug Shinneman and colleagues reviewed literature about aspen populations and fire, summarized research findings, and suggested a classification system for aspen across the western mountainous United States. The scientists proposed five aspen “fire regime” types, based primarily on differences in fire severity and probability. These fire regimes reflect the influence of different environmental settings, and contribute to varied aspen community types and successional stages across landscapes. This classification should be useful for management, including restoration, and for identifying aspen stands where fire regimes are changed by land use, climate, and other factors.