The Forest You Know, Not The Forest it Was

The series of photos used in our materials as “80 Years of Change in a Ponderosa Pine Forest” makes a rather clear case that the forests we see are not the state they were before human settlement.

The new sign at the Pine Trailhead

The new sign at the Pine Trailhead

Suppression of natural fires has dramatically changed the ecosystem. But living in the forest, it’s not like we can just let fires burn.

More information is available from the Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program in Montana, including free downloads of the image series as a poster.

The photos are from a 1999 study done in the Lick Range Creek area of the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana– that entire report is also available.

It looks like to me the photos are from Photo Point 13 (page 75 in the report). I took some copies of the images, and put them into the form of an animated GIF image, so you can see it play back more like a flip book movie. That old tree in the center is gone by 1958.

Ponderosa Pine forest  changes1909-1997

Ponderosa Pine forest changes 1909-1997

A good question to ask, what will this look like in the future?

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