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Great Basin Naturalist

Abstract

Pinus aristata Engelm. forest vegetation in Colorado was studied to determine vegetation composition and the relationship between vegetation and environment. Species percent cover, tree size class, and environmental variables were recorded for 49 plots. Previously collected data for 4 plots from New Mexico were included. Environmental variables included latitude, longitude, elevation, slope, aspect, topographic position, parent material, percent rock cover, mean rock size, litter depth, estimated plot age class, and evidence of anthropogenic disturbance. Soils were analyzed for texture, depth, and percent carbon and nitrogen. Pinus aristata foliage was analyzed for percent nitrogen and phosphorus. Direct and indirect gradient analyses (CANOCO) were used to determine environmental factors associated with community composition. Vegetation in P. aristata forests is influenced primarily by elevation and soil pH. Substrate, soil texture, topographic position, and geographic location are secondary factors. Six plant associations were identified using cluster analysis (listed in an elevational sequence from low to high): Pinus aristata / Festuca arizonica Vasey, Pinus aristata / Festuca thurberi Vasey, Pinus aristata / Juniperus communis L., Pinus aristata / Vaccinium myrtilus L., Pinus aristata / Ribes montigenum McClatchie, and Pinus aristata / Trifolium dasyphyllum Torr. & Gray.

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