SPECIES: Arctostaphylos pungens

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Arctostaphylos pungens: INTRODUCTORY

INTRODUCTORY

SPECIES: Arctostaphylos pungens

 

 

T. Beth Kinsey, Wildflowers of Tucson

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
League, Kevin R. 2005. Arctostaphylos pungens. 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/ [].

FEIS ABBREVIATION:
ARCPUN

SYNONYMS:
None

NRCS PLANT CODE [100]:
ARPU5

COMMON NAMES:
pointleaf manzanita
Mexican manzanita

TAXONOMY:
The scientific name of pointleaf manzanita is Arctostaphylos pungens K. Kunth. (Ericaceae) [46,51,66,89,104,106]. Pointleaf manzanita may hybridize with Eastwood manzanita (A. glauca) [52].

LIFE FORM:
Shrub

FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
None

OTHER STATUS:
None

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Arctostaphylos pungens
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
Pointleaf manzanita occurs discontinuously throughout the mountainous areas of Arizona, New Mexico, southern California, extreme southern Nevada and Utah, western Texas, and Mexico [46,50,66,89,104]. In California pointleaf manzanita occurs along the Coast Ranges south to the Santa Ynez, Liebre, San Gabriel, San Bernardino, San Jacinto, Cuyamaca, and Laguna mountains. In Arizona pointleaf manzanita occurs frequently in foothills, mountain slopes, and canyons from the Virgin Mountains at the southern edge of Nevada-Utah boarder southeastward across the Mogollon Rim. From central Arizona and southern New Mexico east to the Chios Mountains of western Texas, pointleaf manzanita occurs less frequently on dry mountainous slopes. In Mexico pointleaf manzanita is found in abundance in the northern and central states from Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon south to Mexico City. Pointleaf manzanita also occurs in the Sierra Juárez and San Pedro Martir mountains of Baja California [1,27,28,84,106]. Plants database provides a distributional map of pointleaf manzanita.

ECOSYSTEMS [36]:
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon-juniper


STATES/PROVINCES: (key to state/province abbreviations)
UNITED STATES
AZ CA NM OR TX UT NV

MEXICO
B.C.N. B.C.S. Chih. Coah. Dgo. Edo. M Oax.
Son. Ver. Zac.

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [12]:
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
12 Colorado Plateau

KUCHLER [54] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K009 Pine-cypress forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K014 Grand fir-Douglas-fir forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K022 Great Basin pine forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K029 California mixed evergreen forest
K030 California oakwoods
K031 Oak-juniper woodland
K032 Transition between K031 and K037
K033 Chaparral
K034 Montane chaparral
K035 Coastal sagebrush
K036 Mosaic of K030 and K035
K037 Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub

SAF COVER TYPES [29]:
210 Interior Douglas-fir
220 Rocky Mountain juniper
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
230 Douglas-fir-western hemlock
235 Cottonwood-willow
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon-juniper
240 Arizona cypress
241 Western live oak
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir
245 Pacific ponderosa pine
246 California black oak
247 Jeffrey pine
248 Knobcone pine
249 Canyon live oak
250 Blue oak-foothills pine
255 California coast live oak

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [96]:
107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass
109 Ponderosa pine shrubland
110 Ponderosa pine-grassland
201 Blue oak woodland
202 Coast live oak woodland
204 North coastal shrub
205 Coastal sage shrub
206 Chamise chaparral
207 Scrub oak mixed chaparral
208 Ceanothus mixed chaparral
209 Montane shrubland
210 Bitterbrush
216 Montane meadows
322 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany-bluebunch wheatgrass
412 Juniper-pinyon woodland
413 Gambel oak
415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany
416 True mountain-mahogany
417 Littleleaf mountain-mahogany
503 Arizona chaparral
504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland
509 Transition between oak-juniper woodland and mahogany-oak association

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
Pointleaf manzanita occurs as a primary understory species in Madrean pine-oak (Pinus-Quercus spp.) woodlands in southern Arizona and New Mexico, western Texas, and Mexico. Associated tree species include shrub live oak (Q. turbinella), Mexican blue oak (Q. oblongifolia), Emory oak (Q. emoryi), Palmer oak (Q. dunnii), Arizona white oak (Q. arizonica), silverleaf oak (Q. hypoleucoides), Mexican pinyon (P. cembroides), Chihuahua pine (P. leiophylla var. chihuahuana), Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica), Arizona rosewood (Vauquelinia californica), alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana), oneseed juniper (J. monosperma), and birchleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides). Important shrubs include Wright silktassel (Garrya wrightii), ashy silktassel (G. flavescens), Palmer's century plant (Agave palmeri), Schott's century plant (A. schottii), Pringle manzanita (Arctostaphylos pringlei), desert ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii), skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata), sugar sumac (R. ovata), Stansbury cliffrose (Purshia mexicana var. stansburiana), Wilcox's barberry (Berberis wilcoxii), Wheeler sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri), sacahuista (Nolina microcarpa), Schott's yucca (Yucca schottii), banana yucca (Y. baccata), and wait-a-minute (Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera). Grasses include sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), bull grass (Muhlenbergia emersleyi), and mutton grass (Poa fendleriana) [3,16,17,23,28,30,57,67,78,83].

Pointleaf manzanita is found in the understory of pinyon-juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands in southwestern New Mexico. This cover type is typical of low to mid-slopes on eastern exposures at elevations from 6,365 to 7,875 feet (1,940-2,400 m) elevation. Dominant trees in this type include Colorado pinyon (P. edulis), Mexican pinyon, singleleaf pinyon (P. monophylla), alligator juniper, Utah juniper (J. osteosperma), birchleaf mountain-mahogany, gray oak (Q. grisea), and shrub live oak. Graminoid associates include blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), pine muhly (M. dubia), and common wolfstail (Lycurus phleoides) [47,74,104].

Pointleaf manzanita is a common shrub in Arizona and New Mexico's interior chaparral. This vegetation type, found along the Mogollon Rim, is dominated by shrubs and small trees. Shrub associates include Pringle manzanita, sugar sumac, skunkbush sumac, smooth sumac (R. glabra), deer brush (C. integerrimus), Mojave ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii var. vestitus), Mohave buckbrush (C. g. var. perplexans), redberry buckthorn (Rhamnus crocea), Wright silktassel, wait-a-minute, narrowleaf yerba santa (Eriodictyon angustifolium), and sacahuista. Shrubby tree associates may include shrub live oak, Nuttall's scrub oak (Q. dumosa), curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius), and hairy mountain-mahogany (C. montanus var. paucidentatus). Larger trees such as Chihuahua pine, interior ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. scopulorum), border pinyon (P. discolor), alligator juniper, Emory oak, silverleaf oak, and Arizona white oak may have scattered occurrences. Important grasses include lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), Orcutt's threeawn (Aristida schiedeana var. orcuttiana), and bull muhly (M. emersleyi) [18,24,44,51,63,67,69,84].

The most diverse community where pointleaf manzanita occurs is the montane chaparral of the higher-elevation Coastal Ranges of northern, central, and southern California, the Transverse and Peninsular ranges of southern California, and the Sierra San Pedro Mártir of northern Baja California. Characteristic species that associate with pointleaf manzanita in montane chaparral include whiteleaf manzanita, bigberry manzanita (A. glauca), yerba santa (E. californicum), eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), wedgeleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus cuneatus), California buckthorn (Frangula californica ssp. cuspidata), common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), birchleaf mountain-mahogany, thickleaf yerba santa (E. crassifolium), flannelbush (Fremontodendron californicum), California coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica), and yellowleaf silktassel (G. flavescens) [2,27,40,59,71]. Tecate cypress (Cupressus forbesii) may associate in southern California and northern Baja California [25]. Montane chaparral often succeeds to Jeffrey pine (P. jeffreyi), Coulter pine (P. coulteri), and Pacific ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. ponderosa), and/or California black oak (Q. kelloggii) [2,27,40,59,71].

Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) chaparral is the most common type of chaparral in California, occurring in the North and Central Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada foothills, southern California, and northern Baja California. Whiteleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos viscida) may codominate with chamise on some sites. Pointleaf manzanita and other associated species are infrequently in this type. Associated shrubs include Nuttall's scrub oak, laurel sumac (Malosma laurina), white sage, (Salvia mellifera), black sage (S. apiana), sugar sumac, and eastern Mojave buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum). Giant wildrye (Leymus condensatus) is a common grass associate [43,73].

Pointleaf manzanita is found in the understory of oak woodlands of the lower-elevation Coastal Ranges of northern, central, and southern California, the Transverse and Peninsular ranges of southern California, and the Sierra San Pedro Mártir of northern Baja California. Oak woodlands vary in structure from open savanna to dense woodland with a shrubby understory. They merge or form a mosaic with annual grassland at low elevations and with montane chaparral at higher elevations. Overstory associates include valley oak (Q. lobata), coast live oak (Q. agrifolia), interior live oak (Q. wislizenii), California shrub live oak (Q. turbinella var. californica), leather oak (Q. durata), canyon live oak (Q. chrysolepis), blue oak (Q. douglasii), California black oak, Coulter pine, gray pine (P. sabiniana), and California buckeye (Aesculus californica). Common shrub associates include wedgeleaf ceanothus, coffeeberry, chamise, poison-oak, and toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Some common ground cover associates are annual bluegrass (Poa annua), annual fescues (Vulpia spp.), annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), ripgut brome (Bromus rubens), wild oat (Avena fatua), and bur clover (Medicago polymorpha) [9,39].

Classifications describing plant communities in which pointleaf manzanita is a dominant species are as follows:

Arizona [3,14,18,31,44,58,82]
New Mexico [3,31,58]
California [39,42,43,48]

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Arctostaphylos pungens

 

 

T. Beth Kinsey, Wildflowers of Tucson



GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g.[46,51,66,89,104,106]).

Pointleaf manzanita is an erect large round evergreen shrub that reaches 3 to 10 feet (1-3 m) in height. The bark is smooth. Leaves are covered with fine hairs and are thick, leathery, and oval shaped. The inflorescence is a raceme of perfect, urn-shaped, terminal flowers, 6 mm long. The fruit is a round berry, 5-8 mm in diameter, containing 1 to several seeds [46,51,66,89,104,106]. The root system of pointleaf manzanita is shallow and fibrous except in sandy soils, where taproots are usually well developed. Aboveground biomass is generally nearly double the biomass of belowground parts [55].

Stand structure: In interior chaparral pointleaf manzanita often occurs in dense stands that often exceed 70% crown cover. The density of these stands suppresses the growth of forbs and grasses in the understory except in scattered openings or on rocky outcrops [50,84]. However, frequency and percent cover of pointleaf manzanita vary among plant communities. The following table presents frequency of occurrence and percent cover of pointleaf manzanita in several vegetation types of central Arizona [18]:

  Frequency (% ) Mean Cover (%)
Pointleaf manzanita chaparral 100.0 54.5
Shrub live oak-datil yucca-yellowleaf silktassel 85.7 3.0
Shrub live oak-mixed shrub 50.0 3.0
Pringle manzanita chaparral 46.2 1.9
Arizona cypress-shrub live oak 50.0 1.4
Arizona oak-yellowleaf silktassel-Emory oak 50.0 0.9
Shrub live oak-birchleaf mountain-mahogany 14.3 0.7
Yerba santa-desert ceanothus chaparral 50.0 0.6


RAUNKIAER [90] LIFE FORM:
Phanerophyte

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
Pointleaf manzanita regenerates from seed or through layering [19,102].

Breeding system: Pointleaf manzanita is monoecious [49].

Pollination is insect mediated [49].

Seed production: Pointleaf manzanita produces "prolific" or "many" seeds [62,84]. Quantitative measurements of seed crops are not available as of this writing (2005).

Seed dispersal: No information is available on this topic.

Seed banking: Pointleaf manzanita seeds remain viable in the soil for decades [18,84,86].

Germination of pointleaf manzanita is stimulated by scarification of seed by fire [18,23,34,85].

Seedling establishment/growth: Pointleaf manzanita is widely considered an "obligate seeder" or "fire-recruiter." Regeneration depends almost entirely on germination from seed after fire [19,84,85,103]. During the spring after burning, varying numbers of pointleaf manzanita seedlings appear. High mortality rates are common the 1st year after seedling establishment, possibly because of summer drought [62]. Pointleaf manzanita seedlings reach heights of 14 to 16 inches (35-40 cm) 2 years after fire [17].

Asexual regeneration: Pointleaf manzanita regenerates by layering when branches that lie on the ground for extended periods (>2 years) take root [17,102].

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Soils: Pointleaf manzanita occurs on dry rocky slopes and mesas. Soils are usually gravelly sandy loams derived from granitic parent materials that are poorly developed, unstable, and coarse. Soils are generally acidic [18,22,24,84,105]. Pointleaf manzanita associates with "abundant amounts" of mycorrhizae that enhance mineral nutrient and water uptake of the roots [56].

Climate: Two distinct climatic patterns occur in regions where pointleaf manzanita occurs. Climate in the desert southwest follows a bimodal distribution with nearly equal amounts of precipitation in winter and summer, while drought is common during fall and spring. Storm systems bring rain and snow in the winter, while monsoons bring thunderstorms in summer. In contrast, climate in California is considered "mediterranean," where 80% of the annual total precipitation occurs in the fall, winter, and spring from Pacific storms. Summer droughts are common. Pointleaf manzanita typically occurs in areas where annual precipitation ranges from 10 to 30 inches (250-800 mm) [84]. Annual average precipitation is:

State Location Mean Annual Precipitation Citation
California San Diego 10.0 inches (250 mm) [72]
California Cuyamaca 32.5 inches (825 mm) [84]
Arizona Oracle 20.8 inches (528 mm) [17]
New Mexico Luna 16.4 inches (417 mm) [47]
Texas Mt. Locke 18.8 inches (477 mm) [84]
Chihuahua Majalca 19.7 inches (500 mm) [28]
Sonora Pilaares de Nacozari 22.8 inches (578 mm) [84]

Elevation: Pointleaf manzanita occurs in chaparral and woodlands between 3,000 to 8,000 feet (900-2,500 m). Elevations above and below where pointleaf manzanita occurs are generally occupied by montane coniferous forests and desert or coastal grassland types, respectively [51,66,89,106]. Elevational ranges by state are:

State Elevation Citation
Utah 3,280-6,234 feet (1,000-1,900 m) [104]
California 2,953-7,382 feet (900-2,250 m) [46]
Arizona 3,500-6,500 feet (1,067-1,981 m) [51]
Texas ~6,000 feet (~1,900 m) [89]
New Mexico 5,000-8,000 feet (1,524-2,439 m) [66]
Nevada 4,200-8,000 feet (1,280-2,439 m) [52]
Chihuahua 6,234-6,890 feet (1,900-2,100 m) [28]


SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Succession in stands where pointleaf manzanita occurs is not easily predicted and depends on a number of variables including plant association, community type, proximity to boundaries with other communities, geographic and topographic location, climate, fire severity, and time since last fire [41].

Pointleaf manzanita occurs in a "fire-induced climax association." This is defined as species that must have fires at regular intervals to maintain dominance. Stand-level regeneration of pointleaf manzanita occurs after fire that scarifies long-lived, soil-stored seed. Depending on geographic location, moisture availability, and time since last fire, fire exclusion results in the successional replacement of pointleaf manzanita [18]. This is especially apparent at the upper elevational limits of pointleaf manzanita, where chaparral or oak woodlands transition to higher, more mesic pine forests. In these areas, very old stands of pointleaf manzanita are susceptible to encroachment by conifers [16,76,79,84].

Stands where pointleaf manzanita occurs change rapidly during the first 1 to 4 postfire years. In areas where pointleaf manzanita associates with sprouting shrub species, postfire succession can typically be described in 3 stages: (1) During the 1st postfire year, grasses and forbs form the dominant cover, while chaparral shrub seedlings and sprouts emerge. (2) During the 2nd postfire year, mortality of shrub and subshrub seedlings is high. (3) In subsequent years, the remaining shrub seedlings and sprouts become well established while herbaceous vegetation gradually decreases. After 8 to 10 postfire years, a relatively mature chaparral cover with little understory exists [23,41,98].

Between fires vegetative regeneration by layering occurs on the perimeters of parent shrubs and creates a discrete age and size "aggregate" from the center of the parent shrub to the outside of the aggregate.  This assemblage may resemble one large individual shrub. As the parent shrub ages, it often senesces and dies while the aggregates continue growth leaving a "fairy ring" growth pattern [17].

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Depending on geographic location, elevation, and seasonality of precipitation, pointleaf manzanita flowers from January to July and produces fruit from April to September. Pointleaf manzanita fruit matures from April to September [46,50,51,53,89,104,106].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Arctostaphylos pungens
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS:
Fire adaptations: Pointleaf manzanita is dependent on fire for germination of its dormant, banked seed [19,84,103].

Fire regimes: Historic fire regimes in stands where pointleaf manzanita occur varied by geographic region and forest type. For example, prior to 1930, fire return intervals in Madrean pine-oak woodlands of La Michilía Biosphere Reserve in Durango, Mexico, ranged from 3 to 37 years. In that region, short fire intervals are characteristic of low elevations and small fire size, while longer fire intervals are typical of higher elevations and larger fires [32]. In the interior chaparral communities of Arizona, New Mexico, and adjacent Mexico, fires historically burned at intervals of 50 to 100 years, and at high severities over large areas [84]. In southern California and northern Baja California, fires in montane chaparral burned frequently (<20 years) at low severities and small sizes, while larger, severe fires burned infrequently (>50 years) [4,70,87].

Fire exclusion: In the absence of fire, mature (>30 yrs old) pointleaf manzanita shrubs may grow larger than 20 feet (6 m) in diameter. Large individual shrub size and high densities of pointleaf manzanita are attributed to layering [17].

The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where pointleaf manzanita may be important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
California chaparral Adenostoma and/or Arctostaphylos spp. <35 to <100
California montane chaparral Ceanothus and/or Arctostaphylos spp. 50-100 [87]
curlleaf mountain-mahogany* Cercocarpus ledifolius 13-1,000 [7,94]
Arizona cypress Cupressus arizonica < 35 to 200
western juniper Juniperus occidentalis 20-70
Rocky Mountain juniper Juniperus scopulorum < 35 [87]
pine-cypress forest Pinus-Cupressus spp. < 35 to 200 [4]
pinyon-juniper Pinus-Juniperus spp. < 35 [87]
Mexican pinyon Pinus cembroides 20-70 [75,99]
Jeffrey pine Pinus jeffreyi 5-30
Pacific ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [4]
interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [4,8,60]
Arizona pine Pinus ponderosa var. arizonica 2-15 [8,20,95]
Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca 25-100 [4,6,104]
coastal Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii 40-240 [4,77,92]
California mixed evergreen Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii < 35
California oakwoods Quercus spp. < 35 [4]
oak-juniper woodland (Southwest) Quercus-Juniperus spp. < 35 to < 200 [87]
coast live oak Quercus agrifolia 2-75 [38]
canyon live oak Quercus chrysolepis <35 to 200
blue oak-foothills pine Quercus douglasii-P. sabiniana <35 [4]
California black oak Quercus kelloggii 5-30 [87]
interior live oak Quercus wislizenii < 35 [4]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species review

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [97]:
Shrub without adventitious bud/root crown
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
Secondary colonizer (on-site or off-site seed sources)
Prostrate woody plant, stem growing in organic mantle

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Arctostaphylos pungens

 

 

John Elliott photo



IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT:
Fire kills pointleaf manzanita [16].

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT:
Fire effects to pointleaf manzanita vary with season, severity, and intensity and range from partial consumption to complete consumption of the aboveground plant [16].

PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE:
Pointleaf manzanita establishes from long-lived, soil-stored seeds 1 to 5 years after fire  [18,86].

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
Postfire establishment patterns: Success of postfire germination and establishment of pointleaf manzanita varies greatly across sites and is believed to be the result of fire severity (see "Fire severity and postfire establishment" below) and postfire site conditions. For example, in central Arizona Lindenmuth and Glendening [62] found pointleaf manzanita produced "many" seedlings during the 1st spring after a wildfire. However, seedling mortality rates were high, with only 10% of seedlings surviving after the 1st dry season. Mortality was attributed to drought and rooting and trampling by collared peccaries. In a Madrean oak woodland near Tucson, Arizona, postfire establishment was monitored after wildfire in July. Pointleaf manzanita establishment rates were "very low" 1 to 2 years following burning. In some areas it showed no postfire establishment, while other areas showed "minimal" recruitment after burning. From these observations the authors categorized pointleaf manzanita as intolerant to fire [16]. In contrast, studies have shown successful postfire establishment of pointleaf manzanita. In La Michilía Biosphere Reserve, Durango, Mexico, pointleaf manzanita showed "strong" seedling emergence following an "intense" wildfire. Pointleaf manzanita stem densities were 491 stems per hectare on unburned plots compared to 4625 stems per hectare on adjacent burned plots 11 months after burning [34]. In a central Arizona shrub live oak-skunkbush sumac community, Pase and Pond [86] found that pointleaf manzanita density was 486 seedlings/acre 1 year after a wildfire. At postfire year 4, pointleaf manzanita had declined to 335 seedlings/acre but showed signs of "vigorous growth."

Also in central Arizona, Pase and Lindenmuth [85] found "abundant" regeneration and "vigorous growth" of pointleaf manzanita seedlings 1 to 5 years following prescribed fire in a shrub live oak-mountain-mahogany community. However, mortality of pointleaf manzanita seedlings was high following emergence during the summer dry seasons (see Fire Case Studies).

Fire severity and postfire establishment: During the mid-20th century, stand conversion of pointleaf manzanita and other chaparral species to grasslands was rationalized by grazing needs, potential wildlife habitat improvement, and aesthetics. A common tactic during chaparral conversions involved the use of low-severity prescribed fire. Lathrop and Martin [59] found that prescribed fire conducted in southern California Jeffrey pine-California black oak woodlands during the winter killed pointleaf manzanita plants but was not severe enough to break dormancy of belowground banked pointleaf manzanita seeds. Burning resulted in a significant reduction (93%, p<0.01) in density and basal area of pointleaf manzanita in burned areas compared to adjacent unburned stands 2 years following fire.

Fire frequency and postfire establishment: Research conducted during the mid-20th century focused on the timing and frequency of burning as means of reducing stands of pointleaf manzanita (see Fire severity and postfire establishment above). Pointleaf manzanita can be eliminated in areas where fires are frequent enough to kill young plants that have not matured enough to produce a seed crop [13,17]. One experimental burn in montane chaparral in California, conducted 3 years after a fire on a young stand of pointleaf manzanita, resulted in 100% mortality of all plants. No new seedlings established [13].

The Research Project Summary Response of vegetation to prescribed burning in a Jeffrey pine-California black oak woodland and a deergrass meadow at Cuyamaca State Park, California, provides information on prescribed fire and postfire responses of many plant community species including pointleaf manzanita.

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Elimination of pointleaf manzanita can occur if prescribed fire is used frequently. If pointleaf manzanita is desired on a site, burning intervals must allow enough time for pointleaf manzanita to produce seed for future postfire cohorts [13,17]. In contrast, grasslands and woodlands where fire intervals exceed historical ranges (see Fire Regimes) are susceptible to chaparral encroachment into ecotonal areas and increases in chaparral fuel loads [16,76,79,84].

FIRE CASE STUDIES

SPECIES: Arctostaphylos pungens
CASE NAME:
Effects of prescribed fire on vegetation and sediment in oak-mountain mahogany chaparral

REFERENCE:
Pase, C. P.; Lindenmuth, A. W. 1971. [85]

FIRE CASE STUDY AUTHORSHIP:
League, Kevin. 2005.

SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION:
fall/variable

STUDY LOCATION:
The study was located in the Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest in central Arizona, near the community of Globe.

PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY:
Prefire vegetation was dominated by shrub live oak (Quercus turbinella) and true mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus). Other important species included pointleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens), Pringle manzanita (A. pringlei), Wright silktassel (Garrya wrightii), desert ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii), banana yucca (Yucca baccata), narrowleaf yerba santa (Eriodictyon angustifolium), and Wright buckwheat (Eriogonum wrightii).

TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE:
Not reported

SITE DESCRIPTION:
Elevation: 5,300 feet (1,615 m)
Annual precipitation: 25.0 inches (640 mm), 30% received June through September
Soils: coarse, poorly developed
Parent material: weathered diabase
Average slope length: 120 to 190 feet (37-58 m), few > 200 feet (61 m)
Slope steepness: moderate, averaging 30% [85]

FIRE DESCRIPTION:
Management objective were to (1) increase forage quality for wildlife by reducing cover of old shrubs and increasing the number of shrubs in young age classes, and (2) minimize postfire erosion. Areas to be burned were sprayed with a mixture of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T 6 weeks prior to ignition to increase shrub top-kill and flammability. Burns were conducted in the fall (late September/early October) once in each of 4 consecutive years. Average weather and fuel conditions during burns were [85]:

  September 1961 September 1962 September-October 1963 October 1964
drought index  75 91 82 79
rate of spread index  15-20 10-20 10 10
maximum air temperature (oF) 69 85 80 79
relative humidity (%) 46 34 25 33
wind speed (mph) 17 5 6 5
litter moisture (%) 13 8 6 7

It is recognized that prefire herbicide treatment of chaparral would probably not be included in current fire prescriptions. However, this Fire Case Study provides useful quantitative information on ability of pointleaf manzanita to establish after prescribed fire.

FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES:
Numerous pointleaf and Pringle manzanita seedlings emerged following fire, with 86% emerging the 1st postfire year and none in the 5th post fire year [85,86]. Pringle manzanita regenerates only by seed in the same manner as pointleaf manzanita [35], and the data for the 2 species were pooled. Manzanita seedling emergence in each postfire year was as follows [85]:

Postfire year seedlings/acre
1 612
2 62
3 28
4 9
5 0


FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS:
The prescribed fire met both management objectives. It enhanced the browse quality of the mature chaparral stand. Total shrub coverage was reduced from 59% before fire to 45% at postfire year 5. Younger-age-class browse became available for wildlife. Numerous manzanita seedlings emerged after fire. Sprouting shrubs also provided young browse for wildlife. As for watershed protection, at postfire year 5 mean sediment yield on the burned watershed was low compared to a similar watershed burned by wildfire (0.30 acre-foot/mi² vs. 3.2 acre-feet/mi², respectively).

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Arctostaphylos pungens
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE:
Pointleaf manzanita provides food and cover for wildlife and livestock [10,26,51,64,66,68,80,107]. Many frugivorous animals eat the berries, including blue grouse, Montezuma quail, wild turkeys, Gambel's quail, white-tailed deer, mule deer, American black bears, coyotes, hooded skunks, and collared peccaries [10,26,51,66,68,80,107]. Domestic goats prefer pointleaf manzanita browse. One of only several populations of pointleaf manzanita in Texas is reported to be decreasing due to browsing pressure by domestic goats [37,51].

Palatability/nutritional value: Palatability of pointleaf manzanita is considered "low" for deer species [81].

Cover value: The Chauilla people considered stands of pointleaf manzanita excellent cover for white-tailed and mule deer and desert bighorn sheep [10]. Hooded skunk, white-tailed deer, mule deer, blue grouse, Montezuma quail, Gambel's quail, desert kangaroo rats, American black bears, coyote, and numerous bird species are found in stands of pointleaf manzanita [10,51,66].

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

OTHER USES:
Pointleaf manzanita was an important food of the Chauilla. Stands of pointleaf manzanita were managed by the Chauilla for production of food, firewood, and construction materials. The fruits were smashed and used to make a beverage, eaten raw, or made into a cake. Leaves were occasionally mixed with tobacco for smoking or used in a tea for several types of remedies [10]. The Navajo smoked the leaves of pointleaf manzanita for good luck [101]. A decoction using the leaves of pointleaf manzanita was locally used in Arizona and New Mexico as a remedy for stomach trouble [51,89].

The fruits of pointleaf manzanita are edible and are commonly used in jelly, and sold in markets in Mexico [51,89]. The leaves and fruit of pointleaf manzanita are used in Mexican household remedies for dropsy, bronchitis, venereal diseases, and other infections [19].

Pointleaf manzanita is sometimes used for fuelwood in Arizona and New Mexico, although it is considered "nondesirable" fuel [11].

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
See Fire Management Considerations.

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