Pine Forest

Pine forest vegetation community

The pine forest vegetation community is heavily represented by vast stands of Pinus ponderosa in the northern part of our region along the Mogollon Rim and into the White Mountains. The northern part of the Sierra Madre Occidental are another center of pine forest distribution in our region. Tall of the taller Sky Islands have pine forest as the vegetation community above pine/oak woodland and below mixed conifer community. Stands of pure pine forest in sky islands are generally composed of Pinus ponderosa, Pinus arizonica, or Pinus engelmannii.

This vegetation community is heavily adapted to a regular fire regime. Generally it's agreed that in its undisturbed state this community carries mild ground fires every 3-5 years. This fire regime keeps catastrophic fires at bay and leads to a relatively open understory and large old growth trees, although this healthy climax state is uncommon due to logging, grazing, and fire suppression.

Healthy ponderosa pine forest, Taylor McKinnon
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