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John A. Litvaitis - Case Study From Our Neighbors in the Eastern U.S.
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John A. Litvaitis - Case Study From Our Neighbors in the Eastern U.S.

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John A. Litvaitis - Case Study From Our Neighbors in the Eastern U.S.

John A. Litvaitis - Case Study From Our Neighbors in the Eastern U.S.


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  • 1. Do natural disturbance regimes provide realistic guidelines for managing early-successional habitats in New England forests? 
  • 2. Major forest types in northern U.S. Lull (1968)
  • 3.  
  • 4.  
  • 5. ~ 1880
  • 6. ~ 1930 >50% of forest vertebrates utilize early-successional stands
  • 7.  
  • 8. Obligate users RELATIVE USE 0 1.0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 AGE OF STAND 0.5
  • 9. Golden-winged warbler USGS
  • 10. FOREST CLEARING FARM ABANDONMENT FOREST MATURATION Relative abundance of early-successional habitats RETURN TO PRE-COLUMBIAN CONDITIONS ?
  • 11. How much was there?
  • 12. source: Harvard Forest
  • 13. Methods to Estimate Natural Disturbance Regimes Lorimer and White (2003)
    • Sedimentary pollen and charcoal
    • Presettlement land surveys
    • Descriptions by early naturalists
    • Reconstruction of disturbance history in old-growth stands
    • Modern records and aerial photos
    • Computer models
  • 14. Large-scale fires infrequent in New England, ~800-1,200 years 1790 survey in NY found that 1% of landscape burned or open.
  • 15. Small-scale wind storms: kill one to several trees. In eastern U. S., 0.2- 2%/year of all forests are affected by wind throw. At any time, 5-50% of a forest may be affected.
  • 16. Large-scale wind storms: hurricanes or tornadoes at irregular intervals (1635, 1788, 1815, 1938, and 1944). 1938 hurricane affected >240,000 ha in New England Boose et al. (2001)
  • 17. Approximate return interval of damaging (F2) hurricanes in New England. Boose et al. (2001) 85 yr 150 yr 380 yr >380 yr
  • 18.  
  • 19. Wilson 2005 Lumber Exports (Wilson 2005) vs Witness Trees Projections (Lorimer 1977): very different estimates of the prominence of white pine (>10x), indicating a large difference in the frequency and scale of disturbance in these forests.
  • 20. Northern Hardwoods seedling/sapling (1-15 yrs): 1-3% young pole (15-30 yrs): 1-3% 2-6% Pitch Pine- Scrub Oak seedling/sapling: 10-30% young pole: 10-30% 20-60% (Lorimer and White 2003)
  • 21. Trani et al. (2001) Early-successional forests in the eastern U.S. 9% 4%
  • 22. What About Biotic Disturbances?
  • 23. Contemporary Herbivores
  • 24. flooded forest pond wet meadow shrubs forest
  • 25. Open water areas created by beaver dams on the Kabetogama Peninsula, northern MN . 1940: 1% of area 1986: 13% of area Johnston and Naiman (1990) How large an area affected?
  • 26. Northern Hardwoods seedling/sapling 1-3% young pole 1-3% beaver flowages ~ 3.5% (Gotie and Jenks 1982) 5-11% (Lorimer and White 2003)
  • 27. Even if we can accurately estimate HRNV, are these values relevant in contemporary landscapes?
  • 28. 40/mi 2 1100/mi 2 POPULATION DENSITY
  • 29. Hoving (2001) Road Density in the Northeast
  • 30.  
  • 31.  
  • 32.  
  • 33.  
  • 34. 0 20 40 60 80 100 COMPOSITION (%) 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 RACCOON/CANID TRACKS CANIDS RACCOONS LANDSCAPE FOR DEV AGR
  • 35.  2.5 ha  5 ha Winter mortality: Patches 69% 35%
  • 36. OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY FOOD QUALITY LARGE PATCHES SMALL PATCHES THRESHOLD? CONDITION-SENSITIVE PREDATION
  • 37. 9 JAN 16 JAN 23 JAN 30 JAN 6 FEB 13 FEB 20 FEB 27 FEB 6 MAR 13 MAR 20 MAR 27 MAR 3 APR 10 APR 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 UN:C RATIO 4 3 3 3 4 5 6 3 2 5 13 11 13 13 12 6 2 9 7 7 8 5 5 5 8 5 4 4
  • 38. New approaches needed to provide habitat
  • 39. Parcelization or Fragmentation potential to mimic natural disturbances restoration of shrublands/ modified disturbance regime (“sliding scale”) modified disturbances (large and clustered/connected) limited extreme Forest Age young old
  • 40. MANAGING INDUCED METAPOPULATIONS: may require deviating from HRNV ME NH VT NY MA CT RI
  • 41.  
  • 42.  
  • 43.  
  • 44. DESCRIBING HABITAT DISTURBANCES Size Frequency Intensity
  • 45.  
  • 46. Do natural disturbance regimes provide realistic guidelines for managing early-successional habitats in New England forests? 
  • 47.  
  • 48. Human-generated disturbances
  • 49. Pisgah Forest in southwestern New Hampshire three years after 1938 hurricane.