Conifer Establishment Sites on a Periglacial Landscape, Glacier National Park, Montana




Resler, Lynn Michelle

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This dissertation examined fine-scale biogeographic characteristics of conifer establishment sites at three alpine treeline locations in Glacier National Park, Montana, by means of an intensive, field-based approach. The study is placed within the theoretical context of ecological niche theory, positive feedbacks, and theories of treeline location. Morphometric (shelter type, soil, surface microtopography) and biotic (species richness, density, foliar cover, and density) characteristics of microsites were analyzed using detailed data gathered at the three sites through transect and quadrat methods. Scale relationships among microsite variables are analyzed using ANOV A, chi-square, Markov chains, and regression. Relative consistency was found among microsite characteristics analyzed on a fine-scale. Shelter (boulders, solifluction risers and combination shelters) was found to be an important factor in initial stages of treeline advance at all three sites. Shelter types vary in the quality of protection they offer, as evidenced by mortality. Local soil patterns of organic material, depth and penetrability were similar among the sites. Geographic variability was found among the sites with regards to species richness, effects of exposure, and initial colonization.



conifers, Montana, Glacier National Park, timberline, geomorphology


Resler, L.M. (2004). Conifer establishment sites on a periglacial landscape, Glacier National Park, Montana (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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