TitleFire in the pines
NameLa Puma, Inga Parker (author), Lathrop, Richard G. (chair), Dighton, John (internal member), Xu, Ming (internal member), Cadenasso, Mary (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectEcology and Evolution,
Human beings--Effect of environment on--New Jersey--Pine Barrens,
Fire ecology--New Jersey--Pine Barrens,
Pine Barrens (N.J.)--Environmental conditions
DescriptionEffects of urban land-uses have long term implications for the structure and function of natural ecosystems that may extend far beyond the land-use itself. Specifically, natural disturbance and succession in forest ecosystems have been highly altered by human-caused land-use and fire frequency changes. Changes to forest community structure and composition can affect the long-term sustainability of areas such as the New Jersey Pinelands, a fire-dependent ecosystem. By combining historic maps of fire frequency and land-use change, I assessed the effects of human development patterns on fire and forest composition in the Pinelands. These assessments showed lower fire frequency and higher transitions from pine to oak forest cover in close geographic proximity to altered land. Additionally, I investigated our ability to detect the effects of fire on water quality measures using data from gauged watersheds. No significant effects of fire could be determined due to a lack of water quality data associated with wildfires in space and time. I used a spatially-explicit forest disturbance and succession model to investigate how increasing levels of altered land and changing fire regimes may affect forest composition in the future. Additionally, I added climate change to disturbance and succession modeling to incorporate this additional forcing on fire and forest composition. These scenarios showed an overwhelming trend toward oak dominated forest within 100 years, except in the unique pine plains area, where pine species still dominated. The potential of this type of dramatic shift from pine to oak cover represents a radical departure from current forest composition and needs to be addressed by managers of the Pinelands National Reserve in order to maintain the essential Pinelands landscape. Modeling the potential influences of current and future altered land as well as changes in fire regimes in our study area elucidates the degree to which fire and climate disturbances may alter forest composition.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Inga Parker La Puma
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.