Reference conditions and historical changes in an unharvested ponderosa pine stand on sedimentary soil

Eryn E. Schneider, Andrew J Sanchez Meador, Wallace W Covington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Much of the previous research on spatial reference conditions in dry frequent fire pine forests have come from stand-level patterns under regionally average ecosystem conditions (e.g. soil type and precipitation). We evaluated the 1883 reference conditions of an uncut ponderosa pine stand representing a far end of the range of variability in terms of regionally unusual environmental conditions. Using a forest reconstruction model, univariate and bivariate Ripley's K functions, and regression analysis, we determined 1883 structural and spatial reference conditions, and compared those to the contemporary (2010) stand. Historical stand density was 77 trees/ha with a basal area of 8.0 m2/ha. Reference spatial patterns were significantly aggregated from 1 to 2 m and randomly distributed at distances greater than 2 m. Nearly 40% of the reconstructed trees were individuals, the average patch size was 2.9 trees, and the largest patch had 7 members. The contemporary stand had considerably greater densities and basal area than historical conditions and showed aggregation at all distances. Bivariate spatial analysis indicated attraction of post-settlement recruitment to live pre-settlement trees from 1 to 6 m and no association at distances greater than 6 m. We speculate that the historically random tree pattern is the product of a variety of factors including soil parent material, climate, and more homogeneous resource partitioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-221
Number of pages10
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Complete spatial randomness
  • Ecological restoration
  • Natural range of variability
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • Spatial patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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