A Spatial Landscape Model of Forest Patch Dynamics and Climate Change

Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5040




FOREL (a FOREst Landscape model) is an individual-based, multi-scale simulator of forest and climate dynamics. Rationale and design of the model are presented in relation to other forest patch models. Information on implementation of the model is also provided. Capabilities of the FOREL model are demonstrated for forest composition, structure and dynamics along climatic gradients. The model relies on a patch simulation approach that has been tested and developed by independent ecologists for more than three decades. Improvements made over the last decade to the simulation of climate effects on trees are incorporated in the landscape model. A single parameterization of the model is capable of simulating major shifts in forest composition and structure across broad climatic gradients. It is responsive along moisture gradients and temperature gradients. The landscape model is flexible and can be altered easily to test various assumptions about the effects of climate on trees, and the effects of spatial pattern on processes operating within and among forest stands. The spatial structure of the model makes interaction of patches possible. Interactions may include dispersal of propagules and competition for light. The model is a useful tool for projecting temporal climate change effects on forested sites, landscapes and regions.

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USGS Numbered Series
A Spatial Landscape Model of Forest Patch Dynamics and Climate Change
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Scientific Investigations Report
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Contributing office(s):
U.S. Geological Survey
iv, 45 p.