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Forests of the southern Rocky Mountains are punctuated by persistent meadows called parks that are dominated by grasses and forbs. In an attempt to elucidate the maintenance of subalpine parks in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado, soil texture and tree morphology differences along 60-m transects spanning the forest-park ecotone were studied in 6 representative parks. Seedling survivorship, percent seed germination, and soil moisture available to plants were also studied along one of the transects in Willow Park. Soil analyses revealed 40% more silt and significantly less sand and clay in all 6 parks (P < 0.001), which supports the traditional hypotheses that edaphic factors are involved in restricting establishment of...
Mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. vaseyana) covers large areas in arid regions of western North America. Climate-change models predict a decrease in the range of sagebrush, but few studies have examined details of predicted changes on sagebrush growth and the potential impacts of these changes on the community. We analyzed effects of temperature, precipitation, and snow depth on sagebrush annual ring width for 1969 to 2007 in the Gunnison Basin of Colorado. Temperature at all times of year except winter had negative correlations with ring widths; summer temperature had the strongest negative relationship. Ring widths correlated positively with precipitation in various seasons except summer;...
We integrated experimental and natural gradient field methods to investigate effects of climate change and variability on flowering phenology of 11 subalpine meadow shrub, forb, and graminoid species in Gunnison County, Colorado (USA). At a subalpine meadow site, overhead electric radiant heaters advanced snowmelt date by 16 d and warmed and dried soil during the growing season. At three additional sites, a snow removal manipulation advanced snowmelt date by 7 d without altering growing season soil microclimate. We compared phenological responses to experimental climate change with responses to natural microclimate variability across spatial gradients at small and landscape scales, as well as across a temporal gradient...
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The Gunnison Climate Working Group is a chartered partnership of 14 public and private organizations in Colorados Upper Gunnison Basin. The Southern Rockies LCC (SRLCC) funded The Nature Conservancy to complete a comprehensive vulnerability assessment identifying species and ecosystems most at risk from climate change. The assessment included a set of habitat adaptation strategies for priority species, such as the Gunnison sage-grouse. As a final product, local demonstration projects were designed and installed.The financial support and partnership provided by the SRLCC was critical to the Gunnison Climate Working Groups success and progress towards addressing climate change. As a direct result of the SRLCC involvement,...


    map background search result map search result map Persistence of subalpine forest--meadow ecotones in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado A Regional Model for Building Resilience to Climate Change: Development and Demonstration in Colorado Persistence of subalpine forest--meadow ecotones in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado A Regional Model for Building Resilience to Climate Change: Development and Demonstration in Colorado