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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 16(1)

Long-term forest landscape responses to fire exclusion in the Great Xing’an Mountains, China

Yu Chang A D, Hong S. He A C, Ian Bishop B, Yuanman Hu A, Rencang Bu A, Chonggang Xu A, Xiuzhen Li A

A Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China.
B Department of Geomatics, University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.
C School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri-Columbia, 203 ABNR Building, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.
D Corresponding author. Email: changyu@iae.ac.cn
 
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Abstract

Understanding of long-term forest landscape dynamics under fire exclusion, which have not been studied in north-eastern China, is increasingly needed for designing sound forest management and protection plans. In the present study, we examine whether long-term fire exclusion leads to catastrophic fires and whether the fire regimes altered by fire exclusion have changed the course of natural succession of dominant tree species. We designed two simulation scenarios – fire exclusion and no fire exclusion – and used LANDIS to study the long-term (300 years) fire regime dynamic and the succession of dominant tree species in terms of species abundance, age structure and spatial pattern. Our simulated results show that fire exclusion can lead to catastrophic fires with return intervals ranging from 50 to 120 years, increase the proportion of coniferous forests and decrease the proportion of deciduous forests, simplify tree species composition, and alter forest age structures and landscape patterns. Based on these simulated results, we suggest that prescribed burning or coarse woody debris reduction, uneven age management, and a comprehensive wildlife habitat suitability analysis should be incorporated in forest management plans in this region.

Keywords: disturbance, forest succession, LANDIS, landscape pattern, spatially explicit landscape simulation model.


   
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