Research Task: BB06DN7.2.2
Task Manager: Craig Allen
Mountain ecosystems of the western U.S. provide irreplaceable goods and services such as water, wood, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities, but their potential responses to anticipated climatic changes are poorly understood. The overarching objective of the Western Mountain Initiative (WMI) is to understand and predict the responses—emphasizing sensitivities, thresholds, resistance, and resilience—of western mountain ecosystems to climatic variability and change. Objectives of this task include (1) elucidating centennial- to millennial-length shifts in past vegetation and fire regimes; (2) determining responses of fire to short-term (annual to decadal) climatic variation; (3) elucidating long- and short-term climatic controls of tree mortality, including thresholds for dieback; and (4) determining the effects of climatic variability, fire, and land use on watershed runoff and erosion processes. FORT scientists also will continue documenting rapid and extensive climate-induced vegetation mortality, assembling information on global patterns and processes of drought and heat-induced forest die-off, and conducting long-term ecohydrological research in the Frijolito Watershed in Bandelier National Monument.
For more information contact Craig Allen