This book explores the concepts, premises, advancements, and challenges in quantifying natural forest landscape patterns through mapping techniques. After several decades of development and use, these tools can now be examined for their foundations, intentions, scope, advancements, and limitations. When applied to natural forest landscapes, mapping techniques must address concepts such as stochasticity, heterogeneity, scale dependence, non-Euclidean geometry, continuity, non-linearity, and parsimony, as well as be explicit about the intended degree of abstraction and assumptions. These studies focus on quantifying natural (i.e., non-human engineered) forest landscape patterns, because those patterns are not planned, are relatively complex, and pose the greatest challenges in cartography, and landscape representation for further interpretation and analysis.
Forest landscape disturbances are a global phenomenon. Simulation models are an important tool in understanding these broad scale processes and exploring their effects on forest ecosystems. This book contains a collection of insights from a group of ecologists who address a variety of processes: physical disturbances such as drought, wind, and fire; biological disturbances such as defoliating insects and bark beetles; anthropogenic influences; interactions among disturbances; effects of climate change on disturbances; and the recovery of forest landscapes from disturbances-all from a simulation modeling perspective. These discussions and examples offer a broad synopsis of the state of this rapidly evolving subject.
Climate change, urban sprawl, abandonment of agriculture, intensification of forestry and agriculture, changes in energy generation and use, expansion of infrastructure networks, habitat destruction and degradation, and other drivers of change occur at increasing rates. They affect patterns and processes in forest landscapes, and modify ecosystem services derived from those ecosystems. Consequently, rapidly changing landscapes present many new challenges to scientists and managers. While it is not uncommon to encounter the terms "global change" and "landscape" together in the ecological literature, a global analyses of drivers of change in forest landscapes, and their ecological consequences have not been addressed adequately. That is the goal of this volume: an exploration of the state of knowledge of global changes in forested landscapes with emphasis on causes and effects, and challenges faced by researchers and land managers. Initial chapters identify and describe major agents of landscape change: climate, fire, and human activities. The next series of chapters address implications of changes on ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation and carbon flux. A chapter that describes methodologies of detecting and monitoring landscape changes is presented followed by chapter that highlights the many challenges forest landscape managers face amidst of global change. Finally, we present a summary and a synthesis of the main points presented in the book. Each chapter will contain the individual research experiences of chapter authors, augmented by review and synthesis of global scientific literature on relevant topics, as well as critical input from multiple peer reviewers.
Forested landscapes have provided many important testing grounds for the devel- ment and application of landscape ecological principles and methods in North America. This central role of forests in landscape ecology emerged for several reasons. Forest cover is prominent in many regions of North America, from the temperate deciduous forests of the east to the coniferous forests of the north and west. Changes in forest spatial patterns are readily apparent to the human eye-natural disturbances and timber harvests alter the arrangement of forest age classes across the landscape and this, in turn, influences many species and ecosystem processes; land-use changes have produced profound fluctuations in forest cover over several centuries; increasing re- dential development in rural areas is often concentrated within forests; and public lands include many forested landscapes. Management actions, such as varying the amount, size, and location of harvests, also represent landscape-scale "experiments" that provide valuable opportunities for study. Finally, forest patterns are readily detectable from remote imagery, and are thus amenable to study at broad scales. For these reasons, forests have provided motivation and many opportunities for studying the complex relationships between patterns and processes in many areas. The importance of landscape-level considerations in the management and c- servation of forested landscapes has become increasingly important, and a variety of stakeholders are involved.
Over the last two decades, the topic of forest ecosystem services has attracted the attention of researchers, land managers, and policy makers around the globe. The services rendered by forest ecosystems range from intrinsic to anthropocentric benefits that are typically grouped as provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural. The research efforts, assessments, and attempts to manage forest ecosystems for their sustained services are now widely published in scientific literature. This volume focuses on broad-scale aspects of forest ecosystem services, beyond individual stands to large landscapes. In doing so, it illustrates the conceptual and practical opportunities as well as challenges involved with planning for forest ecosystem services across landscapes, regions, and nations. The goal here is to broaden the scope of land use planning through the adoption of a landscape-scale approach. Even though this approach is complex and involves multiple ecological, social, cultural, economic, and political dimensions, the landscape perspective appears to offer the best opportunity for a sustained provision of forest ecosystem services.