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Grand Teton National Park Report

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Observations in the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere indicate that vegetation patterns that develop soon after forest fires vary considerably. This variability is evident even on sites that have similar environmental conditions. The causes of this heterogeneity are not well known, but it is now recognized that the conditions present soon after fire, and the plants that become established initially, influence the nature of the vegetation over the next 100-200 years or more (Glenn-Lewin et al. 1992). Our research investigates the causes of the variability in vegetation establishment following fire in Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger Teton National Forest. The specific objectives of our research are as follows: 1) determine the range of variability in the patterns of early postfire succession; 2) determine which environmental and historical variables are most important in controlling vegetation development following fire; 3) elucidate the importance of landscape position and between-patch interactions during early postfire succession; 4) develop a series of multivariate models that will predict the characteristics of early succession in different situations; and 5) project the most probable trajectories of each pioneer community type.