Subalpine forest damage from a severe windstorm in northern Colorado
As windstorm intensity increases above some threshold, disturbance spread and damage patterns are expected to be less strongly shaped by preblowdown forest composition and structure than by the pattern of the storm itself. We examined this generalization by analyzing differences in wind damage among tree species and stands following a severe blowdown in 1997 affecting over 10 000 ha of subalpine forest in the Routt Divide area of northern Colorado, U.S.A. Individual tree traits such as species, height, and status as standing dead or alive strongly influenced the amount and type (uprooting vs. snapping) of wind damage. Populus tremuloides Michx. exhibited much less uprooting and overall damage than the conifers. Among the canopy trees of the conifer species, Pinus contorta Dougl. ex. Loud and Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt. sustained the lowest and highest rates of snapping, respectively. Standing dead conifers were more likely to be snapped than uprooted, and taller trees were more likely to be damaged than shorter trees. Stand-level characteristics such as stand density, amount of dead basal area, and species composition were predictive of the amount of wind damage for areas of moderate- but not high-severity blowdown. Even in such an extreme wind-storm as the Routt blowdown, which had estimated wind speeds of 200-250 km/h, individual tree attributes and stand-level characteristics significantly influenced the severity and type of wind damage.
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Veblen, Thomas T.; Kulakowski, Dominik; Eisenhart, Karen S.; and Baker, William L., "Subalpine forest damage from a severe windstorm in northern Colorado" (2001). Geography. 325.