Ecological - Second Order
Fuels Inventory & Monitoring
In the year following the 1961 Sleeping Child forest fire on the Bitterroot National Forest, Montana, 11 permanent transects were established within the burn. Vegetation development was recorded through 1973, but only four transects were considered indicative of seral forest succession independent of superimposed management activities including salvage logging, cattle grazing, and chemical thinning of tree seedlings. Tree-seedling attrition amounted to 48 percent of established plants in 11 years and shrub-crown volumes exceeded 2,000 ft /acre, while cover at ground level reached nearly 60 percent. Vegetal cover by introduced grasses was an important component of these plant communities for 6 to 8 years. Major modifications in plant community structure resulted from management activities, but none of the existing communities are considered completely atypical.