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• I assessed biogeomorphic interactions after fire within the alpine treeline ecotone.
• Vegetation and several soil variables were directly or inversely related.
• Burned/unburned edge influenced soil conditions.
• Placement of quadrats may influence results.
Biogeomorphology is an increasingly popular field of study, but the approaches to biogeomorphic research and methods are not yet well developed. This research evaluated ecologic and geomorphic interactions after fire within the alpine treeline ecotone of Glacier National Park, Montana. Associations between soil conditions and vegetation, the effect of vegetation edges on soil characteristics, and the influence of quadrat size on select vegetation and soil variables were evaluated with the use of fieldwork and statistics. Of the 11 ecologic/soil variables compared, three were significantly correlated – soil compaction and krummholz density, soil loss and percent vegetation, and soil loss and burn severity. The ecologic edge between burned and unburned krummholz had significant influence on soil compaction, clast size, and effective soil depth patterns. Quadrat size did not have much influence on average results for either soil or vegetation variables. These findings highlight both the potential biogeomorphic interactions as well as interesting results that were not significant, and will contribute to the advancement of biogeomorphology. The results also provide novel information on alpine treeline ecotone response after fire.
Journal: CATENA - Volume 145, October 2016, Pages 107–117