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Unlocking an Abrupt Tree Line: A Synthesis of Micrometeorology and Vegetative Response

by Neumeyer, Eric Robert

Creator
  • Neumeyer, Eric Robert
Date Created
2016-05
Date Issued
2016-05
Place
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Language
  • English
Subject
Topic
Genre
  • thesis
Abstract

The advancement of global tree lines in response to climate change has raised questions among researchers about tree recruitment at elevations beyond tree line. This study aims to help understand this process by examining the progression of an abrupt tree line of engelmann spruce on the western slope of Pikes Peak, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Methodology for this study includes drone photography, GIS mapping, dendrochronology, tree growth measurements, and soil moisture measurements. The results of our examination suggest that the three main mechanisms controlling advancement at our tree line include a leeward eddy when upslope winds interact with the tree line like a shelterbelt, a spiral eddy when winds are parallel to tree line, and cold air damming of katabatic winds against the tree line at night. Our examination of the vegetative response of trees at our tree line suggests that the most healthy recruitment is occurring on the southern edge of our transect and at the upper extent of the area expected to be protected by the tree line. We have found that trees and limbs that exist within the cold air dam at tree line have experienced decreased growth compared to trees outside of this layer of cold air.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College
PID
coccc:26013
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
41 pages : illustrations, map(s)
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Kummel, Miro
Department/Program
Environmental Program
Degree Name
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Type
bachelor
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued
2016-05