Title: Spatial Patterns in the Historic Fire Regime of a Fragmented Landscape

Authors: Elizabeth Schneider*, University of Minnesota, Kurt F Kipfmueller , University of Minnesota, Evan R Larson, University of Wisconsin, Platteville , Bennett Grider, University of Minnesota
Topics: Landscape, Biogeography, Environment
Keywords: Fire History, Landscape Ecology, Upper Great Lakes, Minnesota, Spatial Patterns
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Upper Great Lakes region of Minnesota includes Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, both part of the larger Quetico-Superior Ecosystem located along the border between the United States and Canada. The vast number of lakes and streams in this region creates a complex matrix of water and land that represents a naturally fragmented forested landscape, creating a unique setting to evaluate the spatial patterns of fire. The spatial pattern of fire activity in fragmented landscapes is influenced by both the spatial arrangement of forest patches and the influence of water acting as an inhibitor to fire spread and broader-scale environmental conditions such as drought. Reconstructing fire histories from fragmented forests may have key methodological differences when compared to studies conducted in more continuous landscapes. Examining how landscape structure influences the spatial and temporal patterns in the fire regime provides an opportunity to evaluate issues inherent in fire activity that occurs in a fragmented landscape as well as the key mechanisms that influence fire. The research presented here evaluates three questions in relation to the Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness landscape. (1) How does the structure of the landscape (terrain) influence fire occurrence? (2) How do local environmental and spatial factors including topography, island size, vegetation, and degree of isolation influence the occurrence of fire? (3) How do fire regime metrics (i.e. occurrence and frequency) change as the scale of analysis increases and thus, a coarser aggregation of sites?

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