Forest disturbance frequency and patch structure from pre-European settlement to present in the Mixed Forest Province of Minnesota, USA

M. A. White, George E Host

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

We used General Land Office survey data (1860-1890) and interpreted aerial photography from the 1930s, 1970s, and 1990s to quantify forest disturbance frequency and spatial patterns for four time periods in the Mixed Forest Province of Minnesota. The study region included eight subsections within the Mixed Forest Province of Minnesota's Ecological Classification System. Presettlement disturbance and spatial pattern estimates varied across the eight subsections indicating a strong relationship to soil and landform characteristics. Land surveyors primarily recorded higher severity disturbances that resulted in significant tree mortality. The 1900-1940 era was characterized by a short-term increase in fire frequency that was relatively uniform across the study region, in contrast to the variability of the presettlement (1860-1890) landscape. In the postsettlement period (1940-1995), timber harvest replaced fire as the dominant disturbance factor. Similar management practices among subsections created similar harvest rates throughout the study region. These management practices imposed a more homogeneous pattern dominated by small (10-25 ha) patches. Management practices now have a greater influence than natural processes in the generation of landscape pattern in the Mixed Forest Province of Minnesota. Information on presettlement forest conditions and subsequent changes can be used by land managers to restore spatial pattern variability in managed forest landscapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2212-2226
Number of pages15
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume38
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2008

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Forest disturbance frequency and patch structure from pre-European settlement to present in the Mixed Forest Province of Minnesota, USA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this