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Landscape Ecology

, Volume 28, Issue 9, pp 1815–1827 | Cite as

A large-scale fire suppression edge-effect on forest composition in the New Jersey Pinelands

  • Inga P. La Puma
  • Richard G. LathropJr.
  • Nicholas S. Keuler
Research Article

Abstract

Broad scale ecological edge-effects are most likely common in urbanized landscapes prone to wildfire, but most edge-effect studies have focused on fine scale processes such as shade tolerance and seed dispersal. Evidence has suggested a shift from pine dominated to oak dominated forests at the interface of developed land and natural areas in the Pinelands of New Jersey with the presence of a large edge-effect due to fire suppression. The goal of this study was to assess the location, magnitude and mechanism of the shift from pine to oak cover focusing on distance to human-altered land as the driver of fire suppression and forest composition changes. Overall, fire frequency and upland pine cover decreased sharply closer to human-altered land and affected up to 420 m of adjacent upland forest. Other factors, such as prescribed fire and wetlands configurations may play a role in the interior forest dynamics, but trends toward lower upland pine forest cover and higher upland oak cover near human altered were dominant. The areal summations of distance from altered land and the use of percent change thresholds for determining the scale and magnitude of large scale ecological edge-effects could be useful to managers attempting to maintain or restore forest types in areas of high wildland–urban interface.

Keywords

Edge-effect Wildfire Forest ecology Succession Wildland–urban interface New Jersey Pinelands 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. We also thank the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve NOAA—Graduate Research Fellowship for funding this research. Many thanks to the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis Lab at Rutgers University, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, the US Forest Service and Rutgers Pinelands Research Station staff for their valuable help in data acquisition, processing and local knowledge. Thanks to John Dighton, Ming Xu, and Mary Cadenasso as well as the Forest Landscape Ecology Lab at UW-Madison for valuable comments.

Supplementary material

10980_2013_9924_MOESM1_ESM.docx (362 kb)
Supplementary material (DOCX 362 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inga P. La Puma
    • 1
  • Richard G. LathropJr.
    • 2
  • Nicholas S. Keuler
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Forest and Wildlife EcologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis, Department of Environmental and Natural ResourcesRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.Department of StatisticsUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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