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Landscape Ecosystem Perspective 1. Background on ecosystem classification 2. Ecological variation among ecosystems 3. Applications for resource mgt.

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Presentation on theme: "Landscape Ecosystem Perspective 1. Background on ecosystem classification 2. Ecological variation among ecosystems 3. Applications for resource mgt."— Presentation transcript:


2 Landscape Ecosystem Perspective 1. Background on ecosystem classification 2. Ecological variation among ecosystems 3. Applications for resource mgt



5 Xeric oak/blueberry ecosystem (35 o 01'  "N, 83 o 00'25"W)

6 Xeric chestnut oak/mountain laurel ecosystem (35 o 01'  "N, 82 o 59'13"W)


8 Submesic oak/mixed flora ecosystem (34 o 59'  "N, 82 o 54'18"W)

9 Mesic hardwoods/bloodroot ecosystem (35 o 01'  "N, 83 o 00'20"W)


11 Mesic hemlock/rhododendron ecosystem (35 o 02'  "N, 82 o 49'09"W)




15 Soils, geomorphology, and biota vary from place to place across a landscape These 3 factors interact at a given spot on the landscape to produce an ecosystem Landscape ecosystem – volumetric unit of the landscape Ecosystem classification – grouping similar sites into ecosystem types

16 Vegetation Geomorphology Soils Ecosystem classification identifies interrelationships within and among geomorphology, soils, and vegetation Ecosystem Type Ecological Properties

17 Terrestrial Ecosystem Survey Integrates climate, geology, soils, and vegetation

18 MA; Soil catena

19 Soil-geomorphic relations in upper Michigan


21 Classification is a data reduction or information reduction technique This works because combos of similar geomorphology, soils, and veg reoccur across a landscape Continuous vs. classification An ecosystem type has ecological properties (e.g., soil texture), which differ among ecosystems

22 Notes on multifactor and multivariate: simply mean many factors or variables Classification has long history in ecology – EC emphasizes interactions and geomorphology/soils Geomorphology/soil relatively stable – e.g., topographic features, soil texture Vegetation useful, but not essential

23 Identifying key environmental variables Southern Appalachian Mountains solum = A + B horizon

24 EC not a panacea; yet practical tool Examples of EC systems – US FS TES, NRCS site types, research-grade EC EC provides framework for studying how properties vary among ecosystems Here are some examples:

25 Nutrient Cycling

26 Landscape ecosystem control over tree mortality Longleaf pines in SE USA – in very moist, waterlogged ecosystems, rooting depth is restricted. Trees more susceptible to wind damage (uprooting) due to shallow root system But lightning mortality important on upland xeric sites!

27 Plant composition and diversity

28 From a Michigan project of the federally endangered Kirtland’s warbler in jack pine forests Findings: We noted significant differences in climate, physiography, soil, and vegetation between 10 landscape ecosystems at the ecological level of landforms. Moreover, jack pine height growth differed significantly among the 10 ecosystems, and the landforms exhibited marked differences in the timing of initial colonization and duration of occupancy by the warbler. Ecosystems favoring jack pine growth - those with a warmer microclimate or higher-quality soil - were typically colonized first but had the shortest duration of occupancy, while colder, drier, and less fertile ecosystems were colonized later but had longer durations of occupancy.

29 Summary of warbler relations to landscape ecosystem habitat

30 Archaeological Resources Upper Michigan: Locations of historical logging camps can be predicted using LEC Eastern white pine was desirable timber species in late 1800s – logging camps located by pines and by water for transporting logs Michigan Archaeologist 43:87-102.

31 Cooper 1913 Bot Gaz

32 Examples of Multiple Pathways






38 1920-2660 m elevations 6300-8700 ft Ponderosa pine, Gambel oak, aspen Entisols, Inceptisols, Alfisols, Mollisols Slope gradients mostly < 10%

39 60 trees/ha 132 trees/ha

40 Methods 102, 0.05-ha plots sampled in 2003 (66 core plots) 55, 500, 513, 523, 536, 551, 558, 570, 582, 585, and 611 soil types Geomorphology, soils, plant communities Cored 2 dominant, open-grown pines of pre-1875 origin Seed bank samples 0-15 and 15-50 cm soil samples analyzed for texture, gravel content, organic C, total N, pH, CaCO 3 equivalent, and water-holding capacity Multivariate and univariate analyses

41 Ecosystem classification Cluster analysis and ordination 10 ecosystem types on 66 plots Ecosystem types internally similar in environment and vegetation characteristics Black cinders/Phacelia (558) Red cinders/Bahia (513) Clay basalt/Gutierrezia (523) Xeric limestone/Bouteloua (500) Mesic limestone/mixed flora (536) Xeric basalt/Muhlenbergia (551, 570) Rocky basalt/Sporobolus (570, 582, 585) Mesic basalt/Festuca (551, 570, 582, 585) Aspen/Lathyrus (611) Park/Symphyotrichum (55)

42 Black cinders/Phacelia 45280 0 390554 5 UTM 452794E, 3905543N Elevation 2007 m Low upper soil fertility

43 CindersClay 1 Haasis, F.W. 1921. Relations between soil type and root form of western yellow pine seedlings. Ecology 2:292-303. Ponderosa pine seedling growth in 1920 1

44 Mesic basalt/Festuca UTM 432074E, 3903341N silt: 53% (0-15 cm) organic C: 2.2% total N: 0.14% C 3 Arizona fescue Xeric basalt/Muhlenbergia UTM 441833E, 3917442N silt: 41% (0-15 cm) organic C: 1.2% total N: 0.09% C 4 mountain muhly

45 Red cinders/Bahia UTM 446730E, 3915773N Elevation 2326 m High gravel content, sandy loam soils, slow tree growth UTM 452716E, 3898173N Elevation 2079 m

46 Rocky basalt/Sporobolus UTM 445788E, 3877037N Elevation 7252 ft

47 Lupinus argenteus Lathyrus lanszwertii Vicia americana 0-15 cm soil total N: 0.26% next highest ecosystem: 0.15% Populus/Lathyrus UTM 424674E, 3886663N Elevation 2215 m

48 Park/Symphyotrichum 31% 0-15 cm clay

49 Age 50-150 yr mean annual diameter increment of pre-1875 origin ponderosa pine Means without shared letters differ at P < 0.05 (Fisher’s LSD) Error bars are 1 SD

50 Plant species richness Means without shared letters differ at P < 0.05 (Fisher’s LSD) Error bars are 1 SD

51 Soil moisture (% of dry soil weight, 0-15 cm depth) for 7 ecosystems measured June 19, 2004. Means without shared letters differ at P < 0.05. Error bars are 1 SD.

52 Estimating ponderosa pine diameter growth based on importance of key plant species

53 51, 10-m 2 exclosures Grazing effects partly related to environmental gradients Environmental influences: - vegetation productivity - water availability - animal movement - other factors

54 Soil Seed Bank Assessment



57 Seed bank composition (greenhouse emergence method) 103 seed bank species detected, 280 aboveground species Untreated samples, 0-10 cm mineral soil Erigeron divergens, fleabane (35% of 102 plots) Verbascum thapsus, mullein (25%) Gnaphalium exilifolium, cudweed (13%) Muhlenbergia minutissima, annual muhly (12%) Chamaesyce serpyllifolia, sandmat (12%) Carex geophila, White Mountain sedge (12%) Others: Muhlenbergia montana, Nama dichotomum, Poa fendleriana, Chenopodium graveolens

58 Ecosystem-specific seed bank composition e.g., black cinders wishbone fiddleaf annual muhly fetid goosefoot

59 Nama dichotomum (wishbone fiddleleaf) 21 plots where it occurred in seed bank samples: 0-15 cm sand = 70% 45 plots where it did not occur in seed bank samples: 0-15 cm sand = 37%

60 Landscape Units Differ in Forest Composition and Change S-facing ponderosa pineN-facing white fir Topographic Moisture Gradients

61 “Pygmy” bonsai site – white fir, ponderosa pine

62 Red brome



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