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Project ID: 14-3-01-32

Year: 2014

Date Started: 09/01/2014

Ending Date:  09/01/2016

Title: Can the arrangement of pine barrens mediate the spread of wildfires under various climate change scenarios?

Project Proposal Abstract: Pine barrens were historically widely dispersed in the fire-adapted, jack pine (JP) dominated ecosystems of northern Lower Michigan. The region's glacial outwash plains supported open areas dominated by low-fuel groundcover plants characteristic of prairie ecosystems within dense, high-fuel JP forests. This landscape structure was historically maintained by frequent, stand replacing wildfires. 20th century fire suppression practices led to a reduction of early-successional stands used as breeding grounds for the federally endangered Kirtlands warbler, prompting extensive JP plantation plantings to provide habitat; today more than 80,000 ha of land are managed as plantations in the region. Large barrens have rarely been included in management plans and have been nearly eliminated across the region as plantation management and decades of fire suppression have altered the landscape. These open areas can act as refugia for grassland species and potentially as fuel breaks for wildfires, facilitating wildfire management in a populated, fire-prone region while maintaining landscape diversity. Many studies have investigated the importance of barrens on plant and animal communities, yet few have focused on the effects pine barrens may have on wildfire spread and manageability across the landscape. If the presence of barrens is found to mediate wildfire spread across the landscape, their inclusion in management areas could help fire managers and firefighters control wildfires, while fulfilling their mandate to restore natural landscape variability. The propagation of fire-created pine barrens on presettlement and current landscapes and on two landscapes modeled after climate change global circulation models will be projected and quantified using LANDIS-II to model wildfire disturbance effects on these landscapes. Using comparisons between presettlement, current and climate change-affected landscapes, I will investigate whether climate change will move the landscape structure of the region farther from its natural range of variability or if the projected increase in wildfires may lead the landscape to become more like the natural, presettlement ecosystem. Further, I will quantify whether changes in barrens structure impact the influence of fire-established barrens on fuel spread or severity across the presettlement, current and climate change projected landscapes. Overall, the effects of climate change on pine barrens distribution and barrens ability to mediate wildfires will be determined, and may facilitate long-term land management decisions throughout the region.

Principal Investigator: Daniel M. Kashian

Agency/Organization: Wayne State University

Branch or Dept: Department of Biological Sciences


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Lisa M. Ellis

Wayne State University

Department of Biological Sciences

Budget Contact

Lisa M. Ellis

Wayne State University

Department of Biological Sciences

Stage 2 Lead Reviewer

Brian J. Harvey

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Department of Zoology

Stage 2 Reviewer

Sara H. Brown

New Mexico Highlands University

Natural Resources Management

Stage 2 Reviewer

Fernando Garcia Menendez

Georgia Institute of Technology

School of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Stage 2 Reviewer

Jeffrey M. Kane

Humboldt State University

Department of Forestry & Wildland Resources

Stage 2 Reviewer

Monique E. Rocca

Colorado State University

Department of Forest, Rangeland & Watershed Stewardship

Student Investigator

Madelyn M. Tucker

Wayne State University

Department of Biological Sciences


Project Locations

Consortium

Lake States


Level

State

Agency

Unit

REGIONAL

Northeast

MULTIPLE

STATE

MI

MULTIPLE


Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

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