Yellowstone National Park in Park County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
The Forest that Needs Fire
Yellowstone’s most common tree is the lodgepole pine. Miles and miles of these tall, straight trees grow close together.
Lodgepole pines forests need fire to survive. It helps control disease and insects, and fire is essential for a new generation of lodgepole pines to grow. When the forst canopy burns, the ash fertilizes the soil. Sunlight can reach the ground. Seeds quickly germinate and begin to grow.
Too Dark to Grow
Lodgepole pines reproduce with two kinds of cones. One type matures in two years, then opens to scatter its seeds. If the forest floor is shaded by older trees, the seeds seldom germinate.
The Magic of Fire
The other type of lodgepole pine cone is “serotinous.” Its seeds are tightly sealed inside the cone until heat from a fire melts the resin that glues the cone shut. Then the cone bursts open to spread its seeds.
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Regeneration of a Forest
November 1, 1988 – a few weeks after fire
• Soil is charred, but fertile
• Lodgepole pine cones release their seeds
• Roots, bulbs, and rhizomes survive underground
• Burned snags will fall, decompose, and add more nutrients to the soil
September 30, 1998 – ten years after fire
• Young trees are several feet high
• Fertile soil sustains
• Remaining snags will fall and decompose
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 44° 57.625′ N, 110° 33.953′ W. Marker is in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in Park County. Marker can be reached from Upper Grand Loop Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located on the Forces of the Northern Range Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Yellowstone National Park WY 82190, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fire – A Fundamental Force (within shouting distance of this marker); Wolf Tracks (within shouting distance of this marker); Trembling Aspens (within shouting distance of this marker); Seasons of the Range (within shouting distance of this marker); A Wildlife Paradise (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); What’s Blooming? (about 400 feet away); Forces of the Northern Range Self-Guiding Trail (about 400 feet away); The Land Tells the Story (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yellowstone National Park.
Categories. • Horticulture & Forestry •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 23, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 159 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 23, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.