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Ownership and ecosystem as sources of spatial heterogeneity in a forested landscape, Wisconsin, USA

Ownership and ecosystem as sources of spatial heterogeneity in a forested landscape, Wisconsin, USA,Thomas R. Crow,David J. Mladenoff

Ownership and ecosystem as sources of spatial heterogeneity in a forested landscape, Wisconsin, USA   (Citations: 4)
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The interaction between physical environment and land ownership in creating spatial heterogeneity was studied in largely forested landscapes of northern Wisconsin, USA. A stratified random approach was used in which 2500-ha plots representing two ownerships (National Forest and private non-industrial) were located within two regional ecosystems (extremely well-drained outwash sands and moderately well-drained moraines). Sixteen plots were established, four within each combination of ownership and ecosystem, and the land cover on the plots was classified from aerial photographs using a modified form of the Anderson (U.S. Geological Survey) land use and land cover classification system. Upland deciduous forests dominated by northern hardwoods were common on the moraines for both owner- ships. On the outwash, the National Forest was dominated by pine plantations, upland deciduous forests, and upland regenerating forests (as defined by <50% canopy coverage). In contrast, a more even distribution among the classes of upland forest existed on private land/outwash. A strong interaction between ecosystem and ownership was evident for most comparisons of landscape structure. On the moraine, the National Forest ownership had a finer grain pattern with more complex patch shapes compared to private land. On the outwash, in contrast, the National Forest had a coarser grain pattern with less complex patch shapes compared to private land. When patch size and shape were compared between ecosystems within an ownership, statistically significant differences in landscape structure existed on public land but not on private land. On public land, different management practices on the moraine and outwash, primarily related to timber harvesting and road building, created very different landscape patterns. Landscape structure on different ecosystems on private land tended to be similar because ownership was fragmented in both ecosystems and because ownership boundaries often corresponded to patch boundaries on private land. A complex relationship exits between ownership, and related differences in land use, and the physical environment that ultimately constrains land use. Studies that do not consider these interactions may misinterpret the importance of either variable in explaining variation in landscape patterns.
Published in 1999.
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