One of the key limitations in implementing ecosystem management is a lack of accurate information on how forest landscapes have developed over time, reflecting both pre-Euroamerican landscapes and those resulting from more recent disturbance regimes. Landscape patterns are of great importance to the maintenance of biodiversity in general, and particularly in relation to wildlife habitat (Noss and Cooperrider 1994). The study of historical landscape patterns and forest structures can give land managers insight into understanding large-scale temporal and spatial stand dynamics. Historical stand structures can serve as models of naturally functioning, sustainable landscapes. Additionally, comparison of the historical structures with the present can give us insights into the relations of disturbance and environment to stand development. Such understanding is essential to long-term resource planning. There are many approaches available for assessing landscape pattern and stand structure, each with its own insight and limitations. This synopsis discusses an approach of interpreting landscape patterns and their relation to disturbance history in a specific case study.
Hartwell, Michael; Alaback, Paul. 1996. Determination of fire-initiated landscape patterns: Restoring fire mosaics on the landscape. In: Hardy, Colin C.; Arno, Stephen F., eds. The use of fire in forest restoration. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-341. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. p. 46-48.