Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

Spring 5-4-1954

Abstract

This study, carried out as an addition to work already done by other workers on subalpine forests and climate, deals with the plant communities on a small ridge at between 10,000 and 11,000 feet on the East Slope of the Front Range in Boulder County, Colorado. By means of the transect method four separate forest communities were delimited: a fir stand, a limber pine stand, a mature lodgepole stand, and a young lodgepole stand. The qualitative and quantitative characters of these communities and the transition areas between them were studied; trees, shrubs, and herbs were all considered. The characters of the communities, together with some data on soil composition, light transmission, and general climate, are described and discussed. From the analysis of the stands it is concluded that: 1. All of the four communities are successional stands which have grown up after fires. All will eventually return to spruce-fir climax forest. 2. The young lodgepole community is the youngest stand. Its tardy reforestation was probably controlled by herb competition and seed destruction by rodents and birds. 3. The mature lodgepole stand and the fir stand are the same age and represent different phases of the same successional process resulting from soil moisture differences. 4. The lodgepole pine is limited in its distribution on the ridge by excessive insolation and by wind. 5. The limber pine is limited by competition. 6. The secondary vegetation of the subalpine zone and of the forest communities studied is extremely variable.

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