Rocky Mountain Research Station Publications
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RMRS-GTR-19: Forest reference conditions for ecosystem management in the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico
Kaufmann, M. R.; Huckaby, L. S.; Regan, C. M.; Popp, J. 1998. Forest reference conditions for ecosystem management in the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-19. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 87 p.
We present the history of land use and historic vegetation conditions on the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest within the framework of an ecosystem needs assessment. We reconstruct forest vegetation conditions and ecosystem processes for the period immediately before Anglo-American settlement using General Land Office survey records, historic studies and accounts, and reconstructive studies such as dendrochronological histories of fire and insect outbreak and studies of old growth. Intensive grazing, clearcut logging, fire suppression, and agriculture in riparian areas have radically altered forest structure and processes since the 1880s, when intensive settlement began in the Sacramento Mountains. Present forests are younger and more dense than historic ones, and in areas that were previously dominated by ponderosa pine, dominance has shifted to Douglas-fir and white fir in the absence of frequent surface fire. Landscapes are more homogeneous and contiguous than historic ones, facilitating large-scale, intense disturbances such as insect outbreaks and crown fires.
Keywords: Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico, environmental history, ecosystem management, fire, logging, grazing
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Forest reference conditions for ecosystem management in the Sacramento
Mountains, New Mexico
Electronic Publish Date: December 31, 2012
Last Update: December 31, 2012
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