Characterizing forest disturbance regimes: Impact assessment of management in US forests

Authors: Chiung-Shiuan Fu*, University of Florida, Di Yang, University of Florida, Michael Binford, University of Florida
Topics: Global Change, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Environment
Keywords: forest, management, disturbance, spatial and temporal
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Forest management practice is the dominant driver of structural and successional change in forested ecosystems. The forest disturbances not only influence productivity, but also affect biodiversity, hydrological functions, carbon cycling, and climate resiliency. To increase our understanding of forest disturbance dynamics, we reviewed all kinds of natural and human-caused disturbance drivers, the spatial and temporal distributions, and intensities of different forest ownership regimes.
We investigated two important forested regions, the Southeast (SE), and Pacific Northwest (PNW) of US, which comprise 32% and 15% of the total forest lands respectively. The SE has more than 80% private owned forest lands, and the PNW has overall 73% of public forest lands. These two forest domains with different forest structure, climate and landscape are managed under a variety of strategies. Using 11 years of spatially explicit Landsat derived forest disturbance data from the LANDFIRE program and the North American Forest Dynamics (NAFD), we characterized five class metrics of spatial disturbance patterns based on land ownership.
Results indicate that disturbance agents and frequency are strongly correlated with land ownership and management size. Federal protected lands provide large-scale lowest disturbed areas, other federal and state lands typify ecological disturbance under different philosophies. The magnitude of forest disturbance operating through anthropogenic interventions varies locally between small-scale non-industrial owned and corporation owned because of non-timber and timber purpose. The findings of forest management units associated with disturbance patterns may benefit the needs for new applications with earth system modeling or management policy prediction at broader macrosystem scales.

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