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The Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Trees in Subalpine Meadows of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, U.S.A.


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Tree establishment patterns vary considerably atdifferent locations in the subalpine zone of Mount Rainier National Park, with substantial temporal variation in regeneration of subalpine fir (Abieslasiocarpa). Recruitment in subalpine meadows has been continuous on the west side of Mount Rainier since about 1930, but has occurred in short,discrete periods on the east side. Variation in snowpack from west to east on the mountain has a substantial impact on climatic factors that limit tree establishment. Warm, dry summer climate facilitates tree establishment on the west sidewhere snowpacks are generally very high; cool, wetsummer climate enhances tree establishment on the east side where snowpacks are lower. Density of tree establishment [...]


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To determine 1) whether tree establishment periods vary among subalpine meadows within the park, 2)whether factors limiting tree establishment vary over space and time, and 3) what might we expect the meadows to look like, with respect to trees,in the future. Increasing understanding of current tree establishment patterns and local factors affecting tree establishment will improveout predictions of the future composition of the subalpine zone. This information can then be used to develop scientifically-based resource management decisions in response to potential climatic change and increasing demands for human use of park resources.

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