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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

You are here: NRS Home / Research Programs /Forest Disturbance Processes /Climate Change and Events / Linking Population, Ecosystem, Landscape, and Climate Models to Evaluate Climate Adaptation Strategies
Forest Disturbance Processes

Linking Population, Ecosystem, Landscape, and Climate Models to Evaluate Climate Adaptation Strategies

Research Issue

Climate change and forest mortality from disturbance agents such as fire and insects are among the top challenges facing natural resource management.  Landscape change will result from interactions among climate change; land use and management; and population, ecosystem, and landscape processes.  Approaches to forecasting landscape change have commonly addressed a subset of these factors but rarely have they all be considered.  Land managers and planners need knowledge of how these factors will interact and modeling tools to assess the effects of mitigation strategies. 

Our Research

Climate change and forest mortality from disturbance agents such as fire and insects are among the top challenges facing natural resource management.  Landscape change will result from interactions among climate change; land use and management; and population, ecosystem, and landscape processes.  Approaches to forecasting landscape change have commonly addressed a subset of these factors but rarely have they all be considered.  Land managers and planners need knowledge of how these factors will interact and modeling tools to assess the effects of mitigation strategies. 

Research Results

The University of Missouri and USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station have already demonstrated the ability to estimate changes in tree species establishment as a function of future climate scenarios and site characteristics with the LINKAGES model.  The landscape change model LANDIS (Landscape Disturbance and Succession model) is being used to incorporate tree species establishment, as a function of climate, along with landscape processes such as succession, natural disturbance, and land management to predict future landscapes.

[image:] An example of how models are linked to understand climate and disturbance impacts on forested landscapes.

The result is predicted landscape trajectories for scenarios defined by climate, management, and disturbance.  These landscape trajectories serve as the basis for assessing the vulnerabilities of species, ecosystems, or other resources to climate change.  For example, landscape scale habitat suitability models have been used to assess habitat suitability for wildlife species of concern at the scale of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and Bird Joint Ventures. Furthermore investigators at the University have just demonstrated approaches to modeling bird species viability at eco-regional scales, and ongoing research is assessing the contributions of climate, habitat, and landscape factors to current bird distributions. 

Research Participants

Principal Investigator

  • Frank R Thompson III, US Forest Service- Northern Research Station,  Research Wildlife Biologist
  • Stephen R. Shifley, US Forest Service- Northern Research Station, Research Forester
  • William Dijak, US Forest Service- Northern Research Station, Wildlife Biologist \ GIS Specialist

Research Partners

  • Hong He, Department of Forestry, University of Missouri,  Columbia, MO
  • Joshua J. Millspaugh, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri,  Columbia, MO

Last Modified: 12/02/2011