Landscape Disturbance and Succession Modeling in the Pinelands of New Jersey using LANDIS-II: The Implications of Human Influence on Fire and Forest Composition

Title: Landscape Disturbance and Succession Modeling in the Pinelands of New Jersey using LANDIS-II: The Implications of Human Influence on Fire and Forest Composition (2012)

Authors: Inga P. La Puma, Richard G. Lathrop Jr., Robert M. Scheller and Steve Van Tuyl

Download.pdf>

Abstract: Coupled human-natural systems present complex relationships between human influence and ecosystem response and services. The Pinelands of New Jersey represent a highly human influenced system noted for its fire regime which helps maintain pinelands cover and halt succession from pine to oak forest composition. The goal of this research was to use a landscape disturbance and succession model (LANDIS-II) to understand long term implications (over 100 years) of human altered land on fire regimes and thus pine versus oak forest cover. Previous research (Chapter 1) showed that fire frequency in the ecological wildland urban interface (EWUI) is depressed due to fire suppression and that these areas are transitioning from pine to oak forest composition at a faster rate. We modeled current altered land and future maximum build-out and added EWUI fire regimes for both of these scenarios to determine the extent of shifts for pine and oak forest cover under a modern fire regime. Increased fragmentation due to both the build-out scenario and added EWUI no-fire zones decreased average fire sizes and increased pine to oak transitions. LANDIS-II forecasts provide a range of possible future scenarios and a decision-support tool for understanding how land-use and fire management policies may affect ecosystem processes and patterns.