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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


Photo: Robert Stottlemyer
  General Description   Fraser Biosphere Reserve and Experimental Forest is situated on the west side of the Continental Divide in north-central Colorado and encompasses the entire watershed of Main St. Louis Creek, a tributary of the Fraser River. The Fraser Experimental Forest was established in 1937 as an outdoor research laboratory to study timber, water, wildlife management, and their integration in the high elevation subalpine coniferous forests. It is one of few sites in the Rocky Mountains that maintains long-term records on hydrology, climate, forest structure and growth, and responses to forest management.
Fraser Biosphere Reserve includes subalpine forests and alpine tundra typical of the central Rocky Mountains. In the forested areas below the timberline, Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) are predominant trees, at higher elevations, on north slopes, and along streams. Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) is the predominant tree at lower elevations and on drier upper slopes. The majority of the forest was initiated after a fire in 1685. Pockets of older trees exist in draws and at higher elevations. Apart from past logging activities, human impacts in the area stem from cattle and sheep grazing and recreational use.
  Major ecosystem type   Mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Populus tremuloides/Carex geyeri habitat at lower elevations of the forest where there has been some disturbance; mixed Picea engelmannii/Abies lasiocarpa forest; Abies lasiocarpa/Vaccinium scoparium habitat; Abies lasiocarpa/Senecio triangularis habitat; Abies lasiocarpa/Calamagrostis canadensis habitat; streams and wet areas
  Location   3954'N; 10553'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   9,328
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +2,660 to +3,904
  Year designated   1976
  Administrative authorities   Fraser Experimental Forest Rocky Mountain Research Station U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service

Last updated: 29/01/2002

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