In an effort to characterize the species and production rates of various upland mosses and their relationship to both site drainage and time since fire, annual net primary production of six common moss species was measured. Several stands located near Delta Junction, interior Alaska, were located. These stands ranged from one to 116 years since fire in well-drained (dry) and moderately to somewhat poorly drained (wet) black spruce (Picea mariana)-feathermoss systems. Moss species composition varied greatly during the fire cycle, with Ceratodon purpureus dominating the earliest years after a fire, Aulacomnium palustre dominating the transitional and older stages, and Hylocomium splendens dominating the oldest, mature sites. Polytrichum spp. was found at all sites. Average moss cover ranged from <10 percent in the youngest sites to almost 90 percent in the mature sites. Species from the genus Polytrichum were the most productive and contributed up to 30 g m2 of organic matter in one growing season. Least productive was Rhytidium rugosum, which contributed about 1.5 g m2 of organic matter in mature stands. Recovery of moss productivity after fire was not significantly different for wet and dry sites.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Changes in Species, Areal Cover, and Production of Moss across a Fire Chronosequence in Interior Alaska