Disturbance history of a mixed conifer stand in Central Idaho, USA

Karen B. Arabas, Bryan Black, Leigh Lentile, Jim Speer, Jodi Sparks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We apply a combination of suppression and release criteria to reconstruct the disturbance history of a ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir stand in central Idaho. In this stand, disturbance, likely fire, induced growth releases in some trees, and sudden, severe suppressions in others. To characterize growth release following disturbance, we developed boundary-line release criteria for Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. Suppression criteria were applied to identify disturbances defined as a growth reduction of more than 1.8 standard deviations sustained for a minimum of five years. To prevent confusing a true release event with growth increases associated with recovery from suppression, release events were not tallied for at least fifteen years following a suppression event. Release and suppression events were combined to create a disturbance chronology characterized by a high frequency of disturbance between 1820 and 1920. This period of disturbance likely reflects post-European settlement land uses such as grazing and logging as well as an increase in fire frequency. Fire suppression in the latter part of the 20th Century likely explains the decrease in disturbance after 1940. We believe that a combination of release as well as suppression criteria best describes the disturbance history of this stand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-80
Number of pages14
JournalTree-Ring Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Boundary line
  • Disturbance history
  • Release criteria
  • Suppression criteria
  • Tree ring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Palaeontology


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