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    Author(s): Robert E. Keane; Russell A. ParsonsPaul F. Hessburg
    Date: 2002
    Source: Ecological Modelling. 151(1): 29-49.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (761.0 KB)


    Landscape patterns in the northwestern United States are mostly shaped by the interaction of fire and succession, and conversely, vegetation patterns influence fire dynamics and plant colonization processes. Historical landscape pattern dynamics can be used by resource managers to assess current landscape conditions and develop target spatial characteristics for management activities. The historical range and variability (HRV) of landscape pattern can be quantified from simulated chronosequences of landscape vegetation maps and can be used to (1) describe temporal variation in patch statistics, (2) develop limits of acceptable change, and (3) design landscape treatment guidelines for ecosystem management. Although this simulation approach has many advantages, the limitations of this method have not been explored in detail. To demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of this approach, we performed several simulation experiments using the spatially explicit, multiple pathway model a LANDscape Succession Model (LANDSUM) to quantify the range and variability in six class and landscape pattern metrics for four landscapes in the northwestern United States. First, we applied the model to spatially nested landscapes to evaluate the effect of landscape size on the HRV pattern metrics. Next, we averaged the HRV pattern metrics across maps generated from simulation time spans of 100, 500, and 1000 years and intervals 5, 10, 25 and 50 years to assess optimal output generation parameters. We then altered the elevation data layer to evaluate effect of topography on pattern metrics, and cut various shapes (circle, rectangle, square) from a landscape to examine landscape shape and orientation influences. Then, we altered the input vegetation maps to assess the influence of initial conditions on landscape metrics output. Finally, a sensitivity analysis of input fire probabilities and transition times was performed. Results indicate landscapes should be quite large to realistically simulation fire pattern. Landscape shape, and orientation are critically important to quantifying patch metrics. Simulation output need only be stored every 20-50 years but landscapes should be simulated for long time periods (≥1000 years). All landscapes are unique so conclusions generated here may not be entirely applicable to all western US landscapes.

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    Keane, Robert E.; Parsons, Russell A.; Hessburg, Paul F. 2002. Estimating historical range and variation of landscape patch dynamics: limitations of the simulation approach. Ecological Modelling. 151(1): 29-49.


    landscape pattern, historical range and variation, landscape fire succession modeling, landscape pattern metrics

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