The spatial pattern of a northern conifer-hardwood landscape

John J Pastor, Michael Broschart

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77 Scopus citations


A geographic information system, fractal analyses, and statistical methods were used to examine the spatial distributions of old growth hemlock, northern hardwood, mixed hardwood/hemlock stands and wetlands with respect to each other and also soils and topography. Greater than 80% of the stands of any covertype were less than 20 ha in area. Nearly pure hemlock and northern hardwood stands were associated with soils having a fragipan, while mixed hardwood/hemlock stands were associated with sandier soils. Hemlock stands were distributed independently of hardwood and mixed hardwood/hemlock stands, but hardwood and mixed hardwood/hemlock stands were usually surrounded by hemlock. Bogs and lakes were usually surrounded by hemlock stands and are distributed independently of hardwood stands. The shapes of all stands vary from extremely simple to extremely complex, with a general tendency for hemlock stands to be more convoluted than hardwoods. The analyses suggest segregation across soil types and a disturbance regime favoring the establishment of hardwoods and mixed hardwood/hemlock stands in a hemlock matrix as reasons for the origin of the observed spatial patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1990


  • Acer saccharum
  • Tsuga canadensis
  • fractals
  • geographic information systems
  • northern landscapes
  • old growth
  • soils
  • spatial pattern


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