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Photographer's Note

I found the break in the sky to almost 'canopy' this once beautifully standing tree.

The Lodgepole pine is the most widespread tree in this area, taken within the Grand Teton National Park. While this burned tree is likely the unique victim of a lighteng strike, millions and millions of lodgepole pines stand in dead fashion in the adjacent area of Yellowstone National Park, from the fire of 1988.

Portions of Yellowstone reside in what is now called stage 1 growth: small plants and young lodgepole pines spring up among dead trees, both standing and fallen, that have been left after a large forest fire. This stage lasts about 50 years. The forest is not very flammable because the trees are widely spaced and the vegetation is low lying, green, and moist.

I believe the tree only grows 1' per year, so you can imagine how many years it will take for these trees to evolve into stage 2, which includes pine stands of up to 50 feet tall, where there shade blocks the growth of much ground vegetation. This stage lasts about 100 years.

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