Document Type


Publication Date



Forest management -- Environmental aspects, Water-supply -- Effect of climatic changes on, Forest hydrology, Forest ecology


Research Study
Warming climate and resulting declines in seasonal snowpack have been associated with drought stress and tree mortality in seasonally snow-covered watersheds worldwide. Meanwhile, increasing forest density has further exacerbated drought stress due to intensified tree-tree competition. Using a uniquely detailed dataset of population-level forest growth (n=2495 sampled trees), we examined how inter-annual variability in growth relates to snow volume across a range of forest densities (e.g., competitive environments) in sites spanning a broad aridity gradient across the United States. Forest growth was positively related to snowpack in water-limited forests located at low latitude, and this relationship was intensified by forest density. However, forest growth was negatively related to snowpack in a higher latitude more energy-limited forest, and this relationship did not interact with forest density. Future reductions in snowpack may have contrasting consequences, as growth may respond positively in energy-limited forests and negatively in water-limited forests; however, these declines may be mitigated by reducing stand density through forest thinning.

Data Description
The data includes site information, forest density, and forest growth measured annually in three long-term forest density treatment experiments including Fort Valley Experimental Forest in Arizona, Black Hills Experimental Forest in South Dakota, and Birch Lake Experiment in Minnesota. In addition, these data include the measured and modeled snow water equivalent, and PRISM-derived annual mean temperature, total precipitation, and cold and warm season temperature and precipitation for each of the three experimental forest sites.

Data labels
Within the excel workbook entitled, Gleason_etal_2020_EcoApps_Data.xlxs, there are three data sheets, one for each research site (FVEF_Data, BHEF_Data, BLE_Data).

The data included are labeled as follows:

  • Site: Research site
  • Plot: Treatment plot (H, High; M, Mid; L, Low; C, Control)
  • Year: Year
  • Age: Age of forest (years)
  • YrsTmt: Years since treatment Density: Measured density of forest (m2/ha)
  • sBAI: Detrended and scaled Basal Area Increment (m2/ha)
  • OsBAI: Original Basal Area Increment (m2/ha)
  • MeSWE: Snow water equivalent measured at nearest SNOTEL station (mm)
  • MoSWE: Snow water equivalent derived from a physically based spatially distributed snow mass and energy balance model called SnowModel (mm)
  • Tcs: Cold season mean temperature derived from PRISM data (C)
  • Tws: Warm season mean temperature derived from PRISM data (C)
  • Tmean: Mean annual temperature derived from PRISM data (C)
  • Pcs: Cold season total precipitation derived from PRISM data (mm)
  • Pws: Warm season total precipitation derived from PRISM data (mm)
  • Ptot: Total annual precipitation derived from PRISM data (C)

Note: BLE_Data includes two columns for MeSWE (MeSWE1 for SNOTEL, MeSWE2 for snowcourse data)


The data supports a manuscript published in Gleason, K. E., Bradford, J. B., D’Amato, A. W., Fraver, S., Palik, B., & Battaglia, M. A. (2020). Forest Density Intensifies the Importance of Snowpack to Growth in Water‐Limited Pine forests. Ecological Applications.


This work is marked with CC0 1.0 Universal



Persistent Identifier