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Anthropogenic fire and bark thickness in coastal and island pine populations from Alta and Baja California

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Abstract Aim 

Native American fire use influenced bark thickness of coastal and island Monterey pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) and bishop pine (Pinus muricata D. Don) populations. Methods 

Basal bark thickness and d.b.h. were measured in two common-garden pine plantations that included all five native Monterey pine populations and nine of 10 native bishop pine populations. One-factor analysis of covariance was used to determine if significant differences in bark thickness existed between island and coastal populations. Results 

Bark thickness was measured on 228 Monterey and 42 bishop pines. Bark thickness in coastal and island Monterey pine populations was significantly different. Bark thickness in coastal and island bishop pine populations was not significantly different. Main conclusions 

Basal bark was thick in populations where there was a history of Native American burning. Basal bark was thin in two island populations where Native Americans have been absent or distant from the pine populations. While other influences no doubt affect the evolution of lower-bole bark thickness, it appears that frequent anthropogenic fires may be a powerful selection force.
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Keywords: Bishop pine; Monterey pine; Native Americans; Pinus muricata; Pinus radiata; defensive organs; fire ecology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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