Research NewsEcology

Yellowstone Rising Again From Ashes of Devastating Fires

Science  05 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5369, pp. 1527-1528
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5369.1527

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Summary

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK-- Defying early predictions that the 1988 series of fires here might open territory to invading weeds or shift the balance toward species that once struggled to maintain a niche in the park, the postfire ecosystems are shaping up to be essentially the same as those that prospered before the flames. But at a meeting * last week at Montana State University in Bozeman, scientists reported the results of studies showing that climate change may drastically alter Yellowstone's ecosystems. Past climate changes have shifted vegetation patterns and the frequency and severity of fires; computer models suggest future warming could do the same thing, turning Yellowstone within decades into a park that bears little resemblance to the one that exists today.