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Keywords:

  • Abies concolor;
  • Air pollution;
  • Disturbance;
  • Drought;
  • Fire suppression;
  • Forest decline;
  • Pinus jeffreyi;
  • Tree mortality

Abstract. Anthropogenic influences on recent tree mortality in mid-montane mixed conifer forests of southern California, USA, and northern Baja California, Mexico, were investigated. The Pinus jeffreyi-Abies concolor phase of the mixed-conifer montane community was sampled at three sites, characterized by: (1) low levels of air pollution and long-term fire suppression (Holcomb Valley in the San Bernardino Mountains, California); (2) chronic, severe air pollution and long-term fire suppression (Barton Flats in the San Bernardino Mountains, California); and (3) little air pollution and no fire suppression (La Corona Arriba in the Sierra San Pedro Martir in Baja California, Mexico). Similar percentages of dead standing trees, around 14 %, were found at both San Bernardino sites, but a comparatively low level, 4 %, was found in the Mexican forest. Anthropogenic effects, in particular fire suppression, may play an important role in enhancing the impact of natural stresses on the dynamics of mixed conifer forests.