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
Vegetation Geomorphology Soils Ecosystem classification identifies interrelationships within and among geomorphology, soils, and vegetation Ecosystem Type Ecological Properties
Terrestrial Ecosystem Survey Integrates climate, geology, soils, and vegetation
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
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
Identifying key environmental variables Southern Appalachian Mountains solum = A + B horizon
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:
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!
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.
Summary of warbler relations to landscape ecosystem habitat
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.