Bunchgrass Ridge

Ecology and restoration of conifer-invaded meadows:
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Change in meadow extent: analysis of aerial photography
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From the dissertation of
From the dissertaion of Janine Rice
Janine Rice

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Using GIS (change detection) analyses of historical aerial photographs, Janine Rice (a doctoral graduate of Oregon State University) quantified rates and environmental correlates of meadow loss at Bunchgrass Ridge between 1946 and 2000 (photo sequence, right).

Her research addressed the following questions:

  • At what rate have meadows been lost at Bunchgrass Ridge
    since the mid-1900s?
  • What proportion of the study area remains open?
  • Do rates of loss vary with proximity to edge, aspect, or slope?

Meadow area declined dramatically—by 60%—between 1946 and 2000.
Losses were greater

  • within 5 m of the forest edge
  • on west- and south-facing aspects
  • on flatter terrain

Meadow loss occurred more rapidly between 1946 and 1967, than in subsequent decades.

Rice, J. M., C. B. Halpern, J. A. Antos, and J. A. Jones. 2012. Spatio-temporal patterns of tree establishment are indicative of biotic interactions during early invasion of a montane meadow. Plant Ecology 213:555-568. Request reprint
Changes in the forest-meadow mosaic
1946 aerial photo of meadow extent
1967 1946 aerial photo of meadow extent
2000 1946 aerial photo of meadow extent
Clearcuts are apparent in the 2000 photo.