Antennaria parvifolia


Table of Contents


INTRODUCTORY


Small-leaf pussytoes in the Fire Science Laboratory's native prairie garden. US Forest Service photo by Janet Fryer.

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Fryer, Janet L. 2011. (Revised from Matthews, Robin F. 1993.) Antennaria parvifolia. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].

Editorís note: In 2011, this species review was revised from the original (1993) version based on a search for new literature on the speciesí regeneration patterns, successional relationships, and reponses to fire. Sections on the speciesí distribution and other (nonfire) management were not addressed in the 2011 revision.

FEIS ABBREVIATION:
ANTPAR

NRCS PLANT CODE [32]:
ANPA4

COMMON NAMES:
small-leaf pussytoes
Nuttall's pussytoes
common pussytoes

TAXONOMY:
The currently accepted scientific name of small-leaf pussytoes is Antennaria parvifolia Nutt. (Asteraceae) [8,10,14,15,34,35].

Small-leaf pussytoes apparently hybridizes with umbrinella pussytoes (A. umbrinella) [5]. It is sometimes lumped with littleleaf pussytoes (A. microphylla), but the 2 species are probably not closely related [10].

SYNONYMS:
Antennaria aprica Greene [5,11,13,14,35]
Antennaria parviflora Nutt. [18]

LIFE FORM:
Forb

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Antennaria parvifolia
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
Small-leaf pussytoes distribution. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2011. The PLANTS Database. (14 June 2011). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC.

States and provinces (as of 2011 [32]):
United States: AZ, CA, CO, ID, KS, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WY
Canada: AB, BC, MB, ON, SK

Small-leaf pussytoes is rare in Ontario, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington, Oklahoma, and Texas [15]. It has not been reported in California since 1987, and it may not occur there [31].

SITE CHARACTERISTICS AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
Site characteristics: Small-leaf pussytoes is found on open plains and prairies, in open forests, dry meadows, and pastures, and along roadsides [8,11,13,18]. It grows well on gentle slopes but not on steep slopes. Best grow is on loam-, clayey loam-, and clay-textured soils. Growth is poor on gravel, sand, and dense clay [7]. In west-central Montana, small-leaf pussytoes occurs in mountain grassland valleys in moist to dry soils [17]. It occurs at mid- to high elevations [7]:

Small-leaf pussytoes elevational ranges in several western states [7]
State Elevation (feet)
Colorado 5,000-12,000
Montana 3,300- 6,000
Utah 5,400-10,700
Wyoming 4,300- 8,400

Plant communities: In the western United States, small-leaf pussytoes occurs in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.), mountain grassland, ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), lodgepole pine (P. contorta), fir-spruce (Abies-Picea spp.), and quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) communities [18,28,35].

In the Great Lakes, small-leaf pussytoes occurs on dunelands and dry prairies and oak (Quercus spp.) savannas [22].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Antennaria parvifolia
 
 
Stolons and root structure of small-leaf pussytoes. US Forest Service photo by Janet Fryer.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Botanical description: This description covers characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (for example, [8,10,13,14,15,35]).

Small-leaf pussytoes is a stoloniferous, mat-forming, perennial forb [10,34,35]. Stems are 1.2 to 6.0 inches (3-15 cm) long. Leaves are simple, alternate, and mostly basal. Cauline leaves are reduced upwards. The inflorescence is a large, closely aggregated cyme with 2 to 6 heads. The fruit is a small achene with a bristly pappus [11,13,14,22,35]. One-year-old plants in Missoula, Montana, had fibrous vertical and horizontal roots diverging from stolons (see photo above). Some stolons had grown beneath the littler layer (Fryer 2001 personal observation).

Raunkiaer [24] life form:
Hemicryptophyte

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Across its range, small-leaf pussytoes flowers from late spring to summer [10]. It flowers from May to July in the Pacific Northwest [6] and Great Plains [11] and from late May to June in Minnesota [22].

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
Small-leaf pussytoes reproduces from seed or spreads vegetatively through stolons. Its primary means of dispersal is by seed, although vegetative spread increases its cover locally [22].

Breeding system and pollination: Small-leaf pussytoes is dioecious or gynodioecious, with most plants reproducing apomictically. Staminate plants tend to be rare in dioecious populations [22,34]. In Colorado and New Mexico, populations have a more equitable ratio of male:female plants, and these populations reproduce sexually more often than other populations [3,10,22]. Due to the mostly apomictic mating system and lack of nectar reward, insects seldom visit or pollinate small-leaf pussytoes flowers [22].

 
Small-leaf pussytoes flowers and dispersing seeds. US Forest Service photos by Janet Fryer.

Seed production: No information is available on this topic.

Seed dispersal: Seeds of small-leaf pussytoes are light and wind-dispersed [3,14,22]. The seed's pappus aids in wind dispersal [22]. Seeds also fall beneath the parent plant (Fryer 2011 personal observation).

Seed banking: One study demonstrated that small-leaf pussytoes has a soil-stored seedbank, although longevity of soil-stored seed was unknown as of 2011. In the greenhouse, small-leaf pussytoes averaged 67 emergents/m² from soils collected beneath an interior ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. scopulorum) forest on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. The top 2 inches (5 cm) of soil was collected from site with a history of limited grazing and no logging [16].

Germination: Little information was available on small-leaf pussytoes' germination requirements as of 2011. Seed collected from small-leaf pussytoes in a 9,800-foot (3,000 m) alpine community in the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Colorado, did not require stratification and showed 100% germination in the laboratory [23].

Seedling establishment and plant growth: Small-leaf pussytoes can grow rapidly under favorable conditions. In the Fire Science Laboratory's native prairie graden, small-leaf pussytoes plants averaging 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter were transplanted in spring and irrigated through their 1st growing season. Precipitation was above average the next spring, and plants averaged 1.6 feet (5.3 m) in diameter in early July of their 2nd growing season (Fryer 2011 personal observation).

Vegetative regeneration: Small-leaf pussytoes spreads vegetatively through stolons, which leads to its mat-forming habit [10,22,34,35].

SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Successional preferences of small-leaf pussytoes were not well studied as of 2011. Small-leaf pussytoes is noted in both early [21] and late-successional plant communities [30] (see Plant Response to Fire). It tolerates open to partially shaded sites on the Bitterroot National Forest, Montana (Fryer 2011 personal observation).

FIRE EFFECTS AND MANAGEMENT

SPECIES: Antennaria parvifolia
FIRE EFFECTS: Immediate fire effect on plant: As of 2011, there was no published information on the immediate effect of fire on small-leaf pussytoes. Severe fire likely kills small-leaf pussytoes plants, while low- [2,21,25,26] and possibly moderate-severity [21] fire likely top-kills small-leaf pussytoes plants. Because small-leaf pussytoes' stolons lie on the soil surface, most fires probably kill them, while root crowns insulated with soil probably survive most fires.

There was no information on the effects of fire on small-leaf pussytoes seeds as of 2011.

Postfire regeneration strategy [29]:
Caudex, growing points in soil
Initial off-site colonizer (off site, initial community)
Secondary colonizer (on- or off-site seed sources)

Fire adaptations and plant response to fire:
Fire adaptations: Pussytoes (Antennaria spp.) colonize bare mineral soil from light, wind-dispersed seed [28]. The seeds are easily dispersed, so small-leaf pussytoes may establish on burns from on- or off-site seed sources.

Plant response to fire: Several studies suggest that small-leaf pussytoes can survive low-severity fire and may regain postfire cover slowly after severe fire, although the specific mechanisms of postfire recovery (sprouting from the root crown and/or establishing from seed) had not been studied as of 2011. Top-killed small-leaf pussytoes probably sprout from the caudex. A study confirming a soil-stored seedbank for small-leaf pussytoes [16] suggests that small-leaf pussytoes may also establish from on-site, soil-stored seed after fire. It may also establish from off-site, wind-dispersed seed.

Bataineh and others [2] found that 8 years after the 1972 Rattlesnake Wildfire on the Coconino National Forest, Colorado, small-leaf pussytoes was dominant on plots where fire severity was low, but it was not reported on high-severity plots. On a site that escaped the 1972 wildfire but was burned under prescription in 1977, small-leaf pussytoes was dominant by postfire year 3. More than 30 years after fire, small-leaf pussytoes was among the 5 most dominant species on both wildfire- and prescribed-burned plots [2].

On the Lubrecht Experimental Forest in western Montana, pussytoes (Antennaria spp.), including small-leaf pussytoes, were among the most common forbs on prescribed-burned plots and on thinned plots in ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir forests [21]. Fire severity was low to moderate. Pussytoes cover on burned plots increased slowly over 3 postfire years. See the Research Project Summary of this study for details on the fire prescription, fire behavior, and responses of pussytoes and more than 100 other plant species.

In Bataineh and others' study, small-leaf pussytoes was an important forb on plots designed to test the responses of understory species to varying-interval (1, 2, 4, 6, and 10 years), low-severity prescribed fires in interior ponderosa pine forests. Forb cover did not differ significantly with fire-return interval. Although the responses of individual forbs were not described, small-leaf pussytoes was among the most common forbs on burned plots [25,26].

Small-leaf pussytoes' absence from severely burned plots after the Rattlesnake Wildfire [2] suggests that it is killed by severe fire. It may establish from on- or off-site seed after fire kill, however. Seventeen years after the mixed-severity Waterfalls Canyon Wildfire in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, small-leaf pussytoes was present in trace amounts on severely burned sites [9]. Its absence in earlier postfire years suggests that it established from seed; prefire vegetational composition was not reported.

After a low-severity spring prescribed fire in Jasper National Park, Alberta, small-leaf pussytoes cover was less on open-canopy sites with elk grazing than on closed-canopy sites or ungrazed, open-canopy sites. The plant community was an open lodgepole pine community [1].

Small-leaf pussytoes cover (%) under closed and open canopies before fire (1998) and in postfire year 2 (2001) [1]
  Closed canopy Open canopy
Year  
1998 2001 1998 2001
No exclosure 1.2 1.8 11.0 3.3*
Exclosure 1.0 0.5 3.0 1.5
*Significant difference between years at P<0.05.

Taylor [30] reported that small-leaf pussytoes was present in lodgepole pine stands in Yellowstone National Park that had burned more than 100 years previously. Its cover was sparse, and it was found only in the oldest stands [30].

FUELS AND FIRE REGIMES: Fuels: Specific information about small-leaf pussytoes as a fuel was not reported in the available literature (2011).

Fire regimes: Based on its occurrence in both ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine plant communities, small-leaf pussytoes appears adapted to short and moderate fire-return intervals (~3 to 80 years). See the Fire Regime Table for further information on fire regimes of vegetation communities in which small-leaf pussytoes may occur.

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Limited studies to date (2011) suggest that small-leaf pussytoes likely survives low-severity fire. It may survive moderate-severity fire and establish from off- and on-site seed, but field studies are needed to investigate this possibility.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Antennaria parvifolia
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
None

OTHER STATUS:
Information on state- and province-level protection status of plants in the United States and Canada is available at NatureServe.

IMPORTANCE TO WILDLIFE AND LIVESTOCK:
Grazing animals apparently make little use of small-leaf pussytoes. Lepidopterans consume the seeds [22].

Palatability and nutritional value: The palatability of small-leaf pussytoes is poor for cattle, domestic sheep, and horses. Small-leaf pussytoes is rated poor in protein and energy value [7].

Cover value: No information is available on this topic.

VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
No information is available on this topic.

OTHER USES:
No information is available on this topic.

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Small-leaf pussytoes is an indicator of overgrazing in Colorado. In ponderosa pine/grassland communities, it survives trampling and is very persistent but is not used as forage. Its cover decreases slightly under light to moderate grazing intensity but increases under heavy grazing [27]. Small-leaf pussytoes generally increases in response to grazing in Montana [1,33]. Since it is often too short to be grazed [4], small-leaf pussytoes may benefit from decreased interference on heavily grazed sites.

APPENDIX: FIRE REGIME TABLE

SPECIES: Antennaria parvifolia

The following table provides fire regime information that may be relevant to small-leaf pussytoes habitats. California is omitted from this table because small-leaf pussytoes occurrence there is undocumented [31]. Follow the links in the table to documents that provide more detailed information on these fire regimes.

Fire regime information on vegetation communities in which small-leaf pussytoes may occur. This information is taken from the LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment Vegetation Models [20], which were developed by local experts using available literature, local data, and/or expert opinion. This table summarizes fire regime characteristics for each plant community listed. The PDF file linked from each plant community name describes the model and synthesizes the knowledge available on vegetation composition, structure, and dynamics in that community. Cells are blank where information is not available in the Rapid Assessment Vegetation Model.
Pacific Northwest Southwest Great Basin Northern and Central Rockies
Northern Great Plains Great Lakes South-central US  
Pacific Northwest
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Northwest Grassland
Bluebunch wheatgrass Replacement 47% 18 5 20
Mixed 53% 16 5 20
Idaho fescue grasslands Replacement 76% 40    
Mixed 24% 125    
Alpine and subalpine meadows and grasslands Replacement 68% 350 200 500
Mixed 32% 750 500 >1,000
Northwest Shrubland
Wyoming big sagebrush semidesert Replacement 86% 200 30 200
Mixed 9% >1,000 20  
Surface or low 5% >1,000 20  
Wyoming sagebrush steppe Replacement 89% 92 30 120
Mixed 11% 714 120  
Low sagebrush Replacement 41% 180    
Mixed 59% 125    
Mountain big sagebrush (cool sagebrush) Replacement 100% 20 10 40
Northwest Woodland
Western juniper (pumice) Replacement 33% >1,000    
Mixed 67% 500    
Oregon white oak-ponderosa pine Replacement 16% 125 100 300
Mixed 2% 900 50  
Surface or low 81% 25 5 30
Pine savannah (ultramafic) Replacement 7% 200 100 300
Surface or low 93% 15 10 20
Ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 200    
Mixed 17% 60    
Surface or low 78% 13    
Oregon white oak Replacement 3% 275    
Mixed 19% 50    
Surface or low 78% 12.5    
Subalpine woodland Replacement 21% 300 200 400
Mixed 79% 80 35 120
Northwest Forested
Sitka spruce-western hemlock Replacement 100% 700 300 >1,000
Douglas-fir (Willamette Valley foothills) Replacement 18% 150 100 400
Mixed 29% 90 40 150
Surface or low 53% 50 20 80
Oregon coastal tanoak Replacement 10% 250    
Mixed 90% 28 15 40
Ponderosa pine (xeric) Replacement 37% 130    
Mixed 48% 100    
Surface or low 16% 300    
Dry ponderosa pine (mesic) Replacement 5% 125    
Mixed 13% 50    
Surface or low 82% 8    
Douglas-fir-western hemlock (dry mesic) Replacement 25% 300 250 500
Mixed 75% 100 50 150
Douglas-fir-western hemlock (wet mesic) Replacement 71% 400    
Mixed 29% >1,000    
Mixed conifer (southwestern Oregon) Replacement 4% 400    
Mixed 29% 50    
Surface or low 67% 22    
California mixed evergreen (northern California and southern Oregon) Replacement 6% 150 100 200
Mixed 29% 33 15 50
Surface or low 64% 15 5 30
Mountain hemlock Replacement 93% 750 500 >1,000
Mixed 7% >1,000    
Lodgepole pine (pumice soils) Replacement 78% 125 65 200
Mixed 22% 450 45 85
Pacific silver fir (low elevation) Replacement 46% 350 100 800
Mixed 54% 300 100 400
Pacific silver fir (high elevation) Replacement 69% 500    
Mixed 31% >1,000    
Subalpine fir Replacement 81% 185 150 300
Mixed 19% 800 500 >1,000
Mixed conifer (eastside dry) Replacement 14% 115 70 200
Mixed 21% 75 70 175
Surface or low 64% 25 20 25
Mixed conifer (eastside mesic) Replacement 35% 200    
Mixed 47% 150    
Surface or low 18% 400    
Spruce-fir Replacement 84% 135 80 270
Mixed 16% 700 285 >1,000
Southwest
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Southwest Grassland
Shortgrass prairie Replacement 87% 12 2 35
Mixed 13% 80    
Shortgrass prairie with shrubs Replacement 80% 15 2 35
Mixed 20% 60    
Shortgrass prairie with trees Replacement 80% 15 2 35
Mixed 20% 60    
Montane and subalpine grasslands Replacement 55% 18 10 100
Surface or low 45% 22    
Montane and subalpine grasslands with shrubs or trees Replacement 30% 70 10 100
Surface or low 70% 30    
Southwest Shrubland
Southwestern shrub steppe Replacement 72% 14 8 15
Mixed 13% 75 70 80
Surface or low 15% 69 60 100
Southwestern shrub steppe with trees Replacement 52% 17 10 25
Mixed 22% 40 25 50
Surface or low 25% 35 25 100
Low sagebrush shrubland Replacement 100% 125 60 150
Mountain sagebrush (cool sage) Replacement 75% 100    
Mixed 25% 300    
Gambel oak Replacement 75% 50    
Mixed 25% 150    
Mountain-mahogany shrubland Replacement 73% 75    
Mixed 27% 200    
Southwest Woodland
Madrean oak-conifer woodland Replacement 16% 65 25  
Mixed 8% 140 5  
Surface or low 76% 14 1 20
Pinyon-juniper (mixed fire regime) Replacement 29% 430    
Mixed 65% 192    
Surface or low 6% >1,000    
Pinyon-juniper (rare replacement fire regime) Replacement 76% 526    
Mixed 20% >1,000    
Surface or low 4% >1,000    
Ponderosa pine/grassland (Southwest) Replacement 3% 300    
Surface or low 97% 10    
Bristlecone-limber pine (Southwest) Replacement 67% 500    
Surface or low 33% >1,000    
Southwest Forested
Riparian forest with conifers Replacement 100% 435 300 550
Riparian deciduous woodland Replacement 50% 110 15 200
Mixed 20% 275 25  
Surface or low 30% 180 10  
Ponderosa pine-Gambel oak (southern Rockies and Southwest) Replacement 8% 300    
Surface or low 92% 25 10 30
Ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir (southern Rockies) Replacement 15% 460    
Mixed 43% 160    
Surface or low 43% 160    
Southwest mixed conifer (warm, dry with aspen) Replacement 7% 300    
Mixed 13% 150 80 200
Surface or low 80% 25 2 70
Southwest mixed conifer (cool, moist with aspen) Replacement 29% 200 80 200
Mixed 35% 165 35  
Surface or low 36% 160 10  
Aspen with spruce-fir Replacement 38% 75 40 90
Mixed 38% 75 40  
Surface or low 23% 125 30 250
Stable aspen without conifers Replacement 81% 150 50 300
Surface or low 19% 650 600 >1,000
Lodgepole pine (Central Rocky Mountains, infrequent fire) Replacement 82% 300 250 500
Surface or low 18% >1,000 >1,000 >1,000
Spruce-fir Replacement 96% 210 150  
Mixed 4% >1,000 35 >1,000
Great Basin
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Great Basin Grassland
Great Basin grassland Replacement 33% 75 40 110
Mixed 67% 37 20 54
Mountain meadow (mesic to dry) Replacement 66% 31 15 45
Mixed 34% 59 30 90
Great Basin Shrubland
Basin big sagebrush Replacement 80% 50 10 100
Mixed 20% 200 50 300
Wyoming big sagebrush semidesert Replacement 86% 200 30 200
Mixed 9% >1,000 20 >1,000
Surface or low 5% >1,000 20 >1,000
Wyoming big sagebrush semidesert with trees Replacement 84% 137 30 200
Mixed 11% >1,000 20 >1,000
Surface or low 5% >1,000 20 >1,000
Wyoming sagebrush steppe Replacement 89% 92 30 120
Mixed 11% 714 120  
Mountain big sagebrush Replacement 100% 48 15 100
Mountain big sagebrush with conifers Replacement 100% 49 15 100
Mountain sagebrush (cool sage) Replacement 75% 100    
Mixed 25% 300    
Montane chaparral Replacement 37% 93    
Mixed 63% 54    
Gambel oak Replacement 75% 50    
Mixed 25% 150    
Mountain shrubland with trees Replacement 22% 105 100 200
Mixed 78% 29 25 100
Black and low sagebrushes Replacement 33% 243 100  
Mixed 67% 119 75 140
Black and low sagebrushes with trees Replacement 37% 227 150 290
Mixed 63% 136 50 190
Curlleaf mountain-mahogany Replacement 31% 250 100 500
Mixed 37% 212 50  
Surface or low 31% 250 50  
Great Basin Woodland
Juniper and pinyon-juniper steppe woodland Replacement 20% 333 100 >1,000
Mixed 31% 217 100 >1,000
Surface or low 49% 135 100  
Ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 200    
Mixed 17% 60    
Surface or low 78% 13    
Great Basin Forested
Interior ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 161   800
Mixed 10% 80 50 80
Surface or low 86% 9 8 10
Ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir Replacement 10% 250   >1,000
Mixed 51% 50 50 130
Surface or low 39% 65 15  
Great Basin Douglas-fir (dry) Replacement 12% 90   600
Mixed 14% 76 45  
Surface or low 75% 14 10 50
Aspen with conifer (low to midelevations) Replacement 53% 61 20  
Mixed 24% 137 10  
Surface or low 23% 143 10  
Douglas-fir (warm mesic interior) Replacement 28% 170 80 400
Mixed 72% 65 50 250
Aspen with conifer (high elevations) Replacement 47% 76 40  
Mixed 18% 196 10  
Surface or low 35% 100 10  
Stable aspen-cottonwood, no conifers Replacement 31% 96 50 300
Surface or low 69% 44 20 60
Spruce-fir-pine (subalpine) Replacement 98% 217 75 300
Mixed 2% >1,000    
Aspen with spruce-fir Replacement 38% 75 40 90
Mixed 38% 75 40  
Surface or low 23% 125 30 250
Stable aspen without conifers Replacement 81% 150 50 300
Surface or low 19% 650 600 >1,000
Northern and Central Rockies
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Northern and Central Rockies Grassland
Northern prairie grassland Replacement 55% 22 2 40
Mixed 45% 27 10 50
Mountain grassland Replacement 60% 20 10  
Mixed 40% 30    
Northern and Central Rockies Shrubland
Riparian (Wyoming) Mixed 100% 100 25 500
Wyoming big sagebrush Replacement 63% 145 80 240
Mixed 37% 250    
Basin big sagebrush Replacement 60% 100 10 150
Mixed 40% 150    
Low sagebrush shrubland Replacement 100% 125 60 150
Mountain shrub, nonsagebrush Replacement 80% 100 20 150
Mixed 20% 400    
Mountain big sagebrush steppe and shrubland Replacement 100% 70 30 200
Northern and Central Rockies Woodland
Ancient juniper Replacement 100% 750 200 >1,000
Northern and Central Rockies Forested
Ponderosa pine (Northern Great Plains) Replacement 5% 300    
Mixed 20% 75    
Surface or low 75% 20 10 40
Ponderosa pine (Northern and Central Rockies) Replacement 4% 300 100 >1,000
Mixed 19% 60 50 200
Surface or low 77% 15 3 30
Ponderosa pine (Black Hills, low elevation) Replacement 7% 300 200 400
Mixed 21% 100 50 400
Surface or low 71% 30 5 50
Ponderosa pine (Black Hills, high elevation) Replacement 12% 300    
Mixed 18% 200    
Surface or low 71% 50    
Ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir Replacement 10% 250   >1,000
Mixed 51% 50 50 130
Surface or low 39% 65 15  
Western redcedar Replacement 87% 385 75 >1,000
Mixed 13% >1,000 25  
Douglas-fir (xeric interior) Replacement 12% 165 100 300
Mixed 19% 100 30 100
Surface or low 69% 28 15 40
Douglas-fir (warm mesic interior) Replacement 28% 170 80 400
Mixed 72% 65 50 250
Douglas-fir (cold) Replacement 31% 145 75 250
Mixed 69% 65 35 150
Grand fir-Douglas-fir-western larch mix Replacement 29% 150 100 200
Mixed 71% 60 3 75
Mixed conifer-upland western redcedar-western hemlock Replacement 67% 225 150 300
Mixed 33% 450 35 500
Western larch-lodgepole pine-Douglas-fir Replacement 33% 200 50 250
Mixed 67% 100 20 140
Grand fir-lodgepole pine-larch-Douglas-fir Replacement 31% 220 50 250
Mixed 69% 100 35 150
Persistent lodgepole pine Replacement 89% 450 300 600
Mixed 11% >1,000    
Whitebark pine-lodgepole pine (upper subalpine, Northern and Central Rockies) Replacement 38% 360    
Mixed 62% 225    
Lower subalpine lodgepole pine Replacement 73% 170 50 200
Mixed 27% 450 40 500
Lower subalpine (Wyoming and Central Rockies) Replacement 100% 175 30 300
Upper subalpine spruce-fir (Central Rockies) Replacement 100% 300 100 600
Northern Great Plains
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Northern Plains Grassland
Nebraska Sandhills prairie Replacement 58% 11 2 20
Mixed 32% 20    
Surface or low 10% 67    
Northern mixed-grass prairie Replacement 67% 15 8 25
Mixed 33% 30 15 35
Southern mixed-grass prairie Replacement 100% 9 1 10
Central tallgrass prairie Replacement 75% 5 3 5
Mixed 11% 34 1 100
Surface or low 13% 28 1 50
Northern tallgrass prairie Replacement 90% 6.5 1 25
Mixed 9% 63    
Surface or low 2% 303    
Southern tallgrass prairie (East) Replacement 96% 4 1 10
Mixed 1% 277    
Surface or low 3% 135    
Oak savanna Replacement 7% 44    
Mixed 17% 18    
Surface or low 76% 4    
Northern Plains Woodland
Oak woodland Replacement 2% 450    
Surface or low 98% 7.5    
Northern Great Plains wooded draws and ravines Replacement 38% 45 30 100
Mixed 18% 94    
Surface or low 43% 40 10  
Great Plains floodplain Replacement 100% 500    
Great Lakes
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Great Lakes Grassland
Mosaic of bluestem prairie and oak-hickory Replacement 79% 5 1 8
Mixed 2% 260    
Surface or low 20% 2   33
Great Lakes Woodland
Northern oak savanna Replacement 4% 110 50 500
Mixed 9% 50 15 150
Surface or low 87% 5 1 20
Great Lakes Forested
Oak-hickory Replacement 13% 66 1  
Mixed 11% 77 5  
Surface or low 76% 11 2 25
Pine-oak Replacement 19% 357    
Surface or low 81% 85    
South-central US
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
South-central US Grassland
Southern shortgrass or mixed-grass prairie Replacement 100% 8 1 10
Southern tallgrass prairie Replacement 91% 5    
Mixed 9% 50    
Oak savanna Replacement 3% 100 5 110
Mixed 5% 60 5 250
Surface or low 93% 3 1 4
South-central US Woodland
Oak woodland-shrubland-grassland mosaic Replacement 11% 50    
Mixed 56% 10    
Surface or low 33% 17    
*Fire Severities—
Replacement: Any fire that causes greater than 75% top removal of a vegetation-fuel type, resulting in general replacement of existing vegetation; may or may not cause a lethal effect on the plants.
Mixed: Any fire burning more than 5% of an area that does not qualify as a replacement, surface, or low-severity fire; includes mosaic and other fires that are intermediate in effects.
Surface or low: Any fire that causes less than 25% upper layer replacement and/or removal in a vegetation-fuel class but burns 5% or more of the area [12,19].

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