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Douglas J Shinneman

Abstract (from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10980-015-0160-1): Content Changing aspen distribution in response to climate change and fire is a major focus of biodiversity conservation, yet little is known about the potential response of aspen to these two driving forces along topoclimatic gradients. Objective This study is set to evaluate how aspen distribution might shift in response to different climate-fire scenarios in a semi-arid montane landscape, and quantify the influence of fire regime along topoclimatic gradients. Methods We used a novel integration of a forest landscape succession and disturbance model (LANDIS-II) with a fine-scale climatic water deficit approach to simulate dynamics of...
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Quaking aspen populations are declining in much of the West due to altered fire regimes, competition with conifers, herbivory, drought, disease, and insect outbreaks. Aspen stands typically support higher bird biodiversity and abundance than surrounding habitat types, and maintaining current distribution and abundance of several bird species in the northern Great Basin is likely tied to the persistence of aspen in the landscape. This project examined the effects of climate change on aspen and associated bird communities by coupling empirical models of avian-habitat relationships with landscape simulations of vegetation community and disturbance dynamics under various climate change scenarios. Field data on avian...
Abstract (from ScienceDirect): Altered climate and changing fire regimes are synergistically impacting forest communities globally, resulting in deviations from historical norms and creation of novel successional dynamics. These changes are particularly important when considering the stability of a keystone species such as quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.), which contributes critical ecosystem services across its broad North American range. As a relatively drought intolerant species, projected changes of altered precipitation timing, amount, and type (e.g. snow or rain) may influence aspen response to fire, especially in moisture-limited and winter precipitation-dominated portions of its range. Aspen is...
Aspen forests are “biological hotspots” in the western United States that support numerous wildlife species. Aspen ecosystems are also economically and socially important, providing high quality forage for livestock and game species (e.g. elk), as well as drawing tourists and improving local economies. Aspen ecosystems are in decline across portions of the western U.S., which is thought to be partly due to drought, and recent research suggests that future climate projected for the western U.S. will be even less capable of supporting aspen. We used different research methods to investigate key controls on aspen growth and survivability in the northern Great Basin and central Rockies. Specifically, we projected the...
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Fire is known to structure tree populations, but the role of broad-scale climate variability is less clear. For example, the influence of climatic “teleconnections” (the relationship between oceanic–atmospheric fluctuations and anomalous weather patterns across broad scales) on forest age structure is relatively unexplored. We sampled semiarid piñon–juniper (Pinus edulis–Juniperus osteosperma) woodlands in western Colorado, USA, to test the hypothesis that woodland age structures are shaped by climate, including links to oceanic–atmospheric fluctuations, and by past fires and livestock grazing. Low-severity surface fire was lacking, as fire scars were absent, and did not influence woodland densities, but stand-replacing...
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