Regional
7:58 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Experts: Ponderosa May Be Gone In Jemez Mountains

Jemez, New Mexico – SANTA FE, N.M. (KRWG) The Jemez Mountains landscape may never again see ponderosa forests.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/oUs1fe) that forest scientists believe the twice burned landscape may see something different emerge because of climate change and the special ferocity with which it has burned in recent years.

Scientists say ponderosa could be replaced by shrubs like the Gambel oak and New Mexico locust that have spread across the Jemez Mountains in the wake of previous fires, supplanting the ponderosa.

Jon Williams, ecosystem staff officer for the Santa Fe National Forest, said replanting ponderosa would be difficult under current drought conditions.

Las Conchas fire this summer raced through the Jemez Mountains and destroyed ponderosa. The largest wildfire in the state's recorded history, the blaze burned more than 244 square miles and 63 homes.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. KRWG