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National Park - Forces of the Northern Range - The Forest That Needs
of sign - on the Forces of the Northern Range Trail between Tower
Junction and Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone National Park.
taken June 2008
Forest That Needs Fire
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
pines to grow. When the forest canopy burns, the ash fertilizes the
soil. Sunlight can reach the ground. Seeds quickly
and begin to grow.
Dark to Grow
pines reproduce with two kinds of cones. One type matures in
two years, then opens to scatter its seeds. If the floor is
by other trees, the seeds seldom germinate.
Magic of Fire
other type of lodgepole pine cone is "serotinous."
Its seeds are tightly sealed inside the cone until heat from a fire
that glues the cone shut. Then the cone bursts open to spread
of a Forest
1, 1988 - a few weeks after fire
is charred, but fertile
pine cones release their seeds
bulbs, and rhizomes survive underground
snags will fall, decompose, and add more nutrients to the soil
30, 1998 - ten years after fire
trees are several feet high
soil sustains a new forest
snags will fall and decompose
exhibit made possible by a generous grant from the Yellowstone Association.
on the sign
addition to the text there pictures of lodgepole pines showing the recovery
of the forest after fires, and pine cones.
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