Using a terrestrial ecosystem survey to estimate the historical density of ponderosa pine trees

Scott R. Abella, Charles W. Denton, David G. Brewer, Wayne A. Robbie, Rory W. Steinke, W. Wallace Covington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Maps of historical tree densities for project areas and landscapes may be useful for a variety of management purposes such as determining site capabilities and planning forest thinning treatments. We used the U.S. Forest Service Region 3 terrestrial ecosystem survey in a novel way to determine if the ecosystem classification is a useful a guide for estimating historical (1880) ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) tree densities on a northern Arizona landscape. Based on sampling 53 sites spanning 9 ecosystem types, we grouped the types into low and high density categories. Tree density was less than 24/ acre on 91 percent (21 of 23) of sites in cinder, dry limestone, and clay basalt ecosystems. In contrast, 70 percent (21 of 30) of sites that contained densities exceeding 24 trees/acre were in basalt, mixed igneous, and moist limestone ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalUSDA Forest Service - Research Note RMRS-RN
Issue number45
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

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