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Distribution, composition, and classification of current juniper-pinyon woodlands and savannas across western North America

Author(s): Neil E. West
Year Published: 1999
Description:

Pinyon-juniper woodlands involve vegetation dominated by about seven species of Pinus and 17 species of Juniperus scattered over more than 75 million acres of the Southwestern United States and Mexico. The junipers are more widespread latitudinally, longitudinally, and elevationally than the pinyons. The understory is much more diverse and reflects largely local climatic patterns. Grasslands and shrub steppes have successionally preceded pinyon-juniper savanna to woodland on sites with gentle slopes and fine soil textures. Excessive livestock grazing and direct fire control are the major factors which have led to present tree dominance. Tree dominance can be regarded as a sign of ecosystem degradation on sites formerly occupied by native herbs and shrubs. On many sites, trees will be eventually replaced by introduced herbs following fire storms unless proactive management is undertaken.

Citation: West, Neil E. 1999. Distribution, composition, and classification of current juniper-pinyon woodlands and savannas across western North America. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Stevens, Richard, comps. Proceedings: ecology and management of pinyon-juniper communities within the Interior West; 1997 September 15-18; Provo, UT. Proceedings RMRS-P-9. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 20-23.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Vegetation
Ecosystem(s): Juniper woodland
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
NRFSN number: 11886
FRAMES RCS number: 13659
Record updated: Feb 27, 2014