PointofInterestRoadSigns.com - Yellowstone National Park - The Forest That Needs Fire


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Yellowstone National Park - Forces of the Northern Range - The Forest That Needs Fire


Location of sign - on the Forces of the Northern Range Trail between Tower Junction and Mammoth Hot Springs 

in Yellowstone National Park.


Photo taken June 2008

The Forest That Needs Fire, The Forest That Needs Fire sign, Yellowstone National Park  


Text of sign:


The Forest That Needs Fire


Yellowstone's most common tree is the lodgepole pine.  Miles and miles of these tall, straight trees grow close together.

Lodgepole pine forests need fire to survive.  It helps control disease and insects, and fire is essential for a new generation of 

lodgepole pines to grow.  When the forest canopy burns, the ash fertilizes the soil.  Sunlight can reach the ground.  Seeds quickly

germinate and begin to grow.


Too Dark to Grow


Lodgepole pines reproduce with two kinds of cones.  One type matures in two years, then opens to scatter its seeds.  If the floor is

shaded by other trees, the seeds seldom germinate.


The Magic of Fire


The other type of lodgepole pine cone is "serotinous."  Its seeds are tightly sealed inside the cone until heat from a fire melts the 

resin that glues the cone shut.  Then the cone bursts open to spread its seeds.


Regeneration of a Forest


November 1, 1988 - a few weeks after fire


Soil is charred, but fertile

Lodgepole pine cones release their seeds

Roots, bulbs, and rhizomes survive underground

Burned snags will fall, decompose, and add more nutrients to the soil


September 30, 1998 - ten years after fire


Young trees are several feet high

Fertile soil sustains a new forest

Remaining snags will fall and decompose


This exhibit made possible by a generous grant from the Yellowstone Association.


Graphics on the sign


In addition to the text there pictures of lodgepole pines showing the recovery of the forest after fires, and pine cones.


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