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Project ID: 09-3-01-17

Year: 2009

Date Started: 06/01/2009

Date Completed: 08/09/2012

Title: Estimating Critical Climate-Driven Thresholds in Landscape Dynamics Using Spatial Simulation Modeling: Climate Change Tipping Points in Fire Management

Project Proposal Abstract: Climate projections for the next 20-50 years forecast higher temperatures and variable precipitation for many landscapes in the western United States and many ecosystem and fire modelers are using gridded future climate data generated and synthesized from one or more Global Circulation Models (GCMs) to simulate climate interactions with vegetation and disturbance across landscapes. Unfortunately, these gridded climate data sets contain a high degree of uncertainty. Instead of using gridded climate, we propose to identify major changes in landscape structure, composition, and fire regimes as a consequence of systematic changes in climate using mechanistic simulation modeling. We have designed a comprehensive simulation experiment where we use the landscape succession model FireBGCv2 to simulate landscape dynamics for a set of simulation runs where the historical climate daily temperature, precipitation, and carbon dioxide concentration are systematically increased or modified by carefully selected factors based on historical records and future conditions. We will analyze resultant model output to identify major thresholds or tipping points in landscape dynamics based on vegetation, fire, and fuel variables. These tipping points will help the manager assess where and when climate change will be important to managing fire on their landscapes. Results will be published as a methodology paper in a peer-reviewed journal.

Principal Investigator: Robert E. Keane

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: RMRS-Fire, Fuel & Smoke Science Program

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Rachel A. Loehman

USGS-Geological Survey

ASC-Alaska Science Center

Federal Cooperator

Robert E. Keane

Forest Service

RMRS-Fire, Fuel & Smoke Science Program

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Northern Rockies









Glacier National Park




Gila National Forest




Yellowstone National Park

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print go to website 1549 Government Publication Modeling Climate Changes and Wildfire Interactions: Effects on Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) and Implications for Restoration, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
view or print   1443 Government Publication The Fire BGCv2 Landscape Fire and Succession Model: A Research Simulation Platform for Exploring Fire and Vegetation Dynamics
view or print   3353 Journal Article Modeling Effects of Climate Change and Fire Management on Western White Pine (Pinus monticola) in the Northern Rocky Mountains, USA
view or print go to website 7218 Computer Model/Software/Algorithm The FireBGCv2 Landscape Fire Succession Model: A Research Simulation Platform for Exploring Fire and Vegetation Dynamics

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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