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Article

Mid-Scale Drivers of Variability in Dry Mixed-Conifer Forests of the Mogollon Rim, Arizona

1
School of Forestry and Ecological Restoration Institute, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
2
Ecological Restoration Institute, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
3
School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Rosemary Sherriff and Francisco B. Navarro
Forests 2021, 12(5), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050622
Received: 6 April 2021 / Revised: 28 April 2021 / Accepted: 12 May 2021 / Published: 14 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
The structure and composition of southwestern dry mixed-conifer forests have changed significantly, decreasing forest resiliency to uncharacteristic disturbances which also threaten ecosystem services. Restoration of these forests can be informed by historical conditions; however, managers and researchers still lack a full understanding of how environmental factors influence forest conditions. We investigated historical and contemporary variability in dry mixed-conifer forests in northern Arizona and identified important environmental drivers. We utilized forest sample plots and dendrochronological reconstruction modelling to describe forest conditions in 1879 and 2014, respectively. We used correlogram analysis to compare spatial autocorrelation of average diameter, basal area and tree density, and structural equation modeling to partition the causal pathways between forest structure, forest composition, and a suite of environmental factors reflecting climate, topography, and soil. Historical (1879) reconstructed forests had significantly fewer trees, lower basal area, and higher average diameter than contemporarily (2014). Composition has shifted from ponderosa pine dominance towards a more mixed-species composition. Historically, forest structure did not exhibit strong spatial autocorrelation, but contemporary tree density and diameter were strongly autocorrelated. Environmental factors described little variation in historical forest conditions but are more important for contemporary conditions. Managers can utilize this increased understanding of variation to tailor silvicultural prescriptions to environmental templates. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest restoration; historical structural conditions; structural equation modelling; correlogram analysis; fire exclusion forest restoration; historical structural conditions; structural equation modelling; correlogram analysis; fire exclusion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jaquette, M.; Sánchez Meador, A.J.; Huffman, D.W.; Bowker, M.A. Mid-Scale Drivers of Variability in Dry Mixed-Conifer Forests of the Mogollon Rim, Arizona. Forests 2021, 12, 622. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050622

AMA Style

Jaquette M, Sánchez Meador AJ, Huffman DW, Bowker MA. Mid-Scale Drivers of Variability in Dry Mixed-Conifer Forests of the Mogollon Rim, Arizona. Forests. 2021; 12(5):622. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050622

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jaquette, Matthew, Andrew J. Sánchez Meador, David W. Huffman, and Matthew A. Bowker. 2021. "Mid-Scale Drivers of Variability in Dry Mixed-Conifer Forests of the Mogollon Rim, Arizona" Forests 12, no. 5: 622. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050622

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