Temporal Dynamics of Forest Ecosystems – Boreal Forest

For this assignment you will explore the temporal dynamics of one plant community (i.e., a single stand) within the landscape BOREAL FOREST.

In the event of a disturbance spanning a landscape (e.g., a large-scale fire or wide-spread storm event), the disturbance effects and post disturbance processes will vary based on the pre-disturbance composition and structure of the community, types and abundance of post-disturbance legacies, and any gradient in disturbance severity across the landscape.

For example, a high-severity fire that burns through a dense, young, uniform Douglas-fir plantation is likely to kill nearly all of the overstory trees, leave few large snags or logs (because the pre-disturbance stand had few large trees to produce these structures), and burn fairly uniformly, but a fire that burns through an old-growth mixed conifer stand may be more patchy (because the fuels are less uniform), may leave some large living pine or Douglas-fir trees while killing most of the more fire sensitive species, and is likely to produce some large snags or logs.

Must be 1.5 line spacing

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeForest Condition at the Time of Disturbance (10 pts)Describe the composition and structure of your stand immediately prior to the disturbance. You need to describe both vertical and horizontal characteristics that contribute to composition and structure. There are a lot of components to this so be thorough: what species are present in the different structural layers, how big are they, what are their relative abundances, is the overstory dense or fairly open, are there multiple canopy strata, or just one? Is the stand relatively homogeneous in terms of canopy cover, tree size, and species composition, or are there patches with different characteristics? What stage of structural development does this stand represent?
10.0pts

Full Marks

0.0pts

No Marks

10.0pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDisturbance DescriptionDescribe the disturbance regime of your community (e.g., disturbance type, frequency, extent, and magnitude). Review the course material to find out what kinds of information/attributes you need to include. Make sure you include all of the components of the disturbance regime that are necessary to adequately describe it! You might have to do some research to develop this section so get started early. You are describing one particular event but frequency is still important for understanding how this event interacts with past or future events.
10.0pts

Full Marks

0.0pts

No Marks

10.0pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeForest Conditions Immediately After DisturbanceDescribe the vertical and horizontal forest structure and composition immediately after the disturbance occurs. Make sure you also discuss the “biological legacies” created by this disturbance and try to track them throughout succession.
10.0pts

Full Marks

0.0pts

No Marks

10.0pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSpecies Life History Strategies and Vital AttributesDescribe the life history strategies and vital attributes of the dominant plant species in your community. Reproductive strategy and environmental tolerance are very important, but other factors may also come into play. You may also choose to consider wildlife species in your community, but this is not a requirement. Consider creating a table to present this information but be sure to provide text describing what the information means. Several points that you might want to consider include: a) shade tolerance b) seed type and seed dispersal mechanisms, c) vegetative reproductive capacity and type (if any), d) requirements (or ideal conditions) for seed germination and seedling (or sucker/sprout) establishment such as soil conditions, light and water availability, etc, e) drought tolerance, and f) disturbance-specific adaptations such as serotinous cones to regenerate after fires or thick bark to provide insulation against fires. Make sure you include dominant species from both the overstory and understory communities.
15.0pts

Full Marks

0.0pts

No Marks

15.0pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSuccessionDescribe changes in the structure and composition of your stand over time. Refer to a terms used in established models used to describe stages of stand development from that we’ve seen in class (e.g., Spies 2004; Table 2). Include a timeline describing when these stages occur and approximately how long they last. Make sure you use information about the life history traits of major species to explain their presence or absence as your stand develops through time following your disturbance. Refer to any relevant plant to plant interactions, e.g., competition, facilitation that contributes to succession of the stand.
15.0pts

Full Marks

0.0pts

No Marks

15.0pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFormattingPrepare a document that includes 3-4 pages of text, 1.5 line-spaced paper describing your disturbance and natural successional dynamics. Your required diagram will be an additional 1 page, plus your references. I expect to see your assignments to be written professionally and in a technical/scientific format. You will be graded primarily on content, but organization and grammar will be evaluated too. The amount of content you are being asked to include in a limited space will require you to be concise and organized in thought. Use 1-inch margins on all sides, and 11-point or 12-point font. You’ll need to provide a descriptive caption for any figures and tables. Be sure to refer to the figure or table in your text. Generally, this involves explaining what information the figure shows, what system it represents, and what geographic area (if relevant) it is for. Provide scientific names for all species the first time they appear in your document; thereafter you can choose to use the scientific or common name.
5.0pts

Full Marks

0.0pts

No Marks

5.0pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeReferencesResearch will be required to complete the assignment. Be sure to provide proper citations for all of your sources within the document and in a literature cited (references) section. Cite sources as described in Synthesis Assignment 1, which is the structure for the journal Forest Ecology and Management.
5.0pts

Full Marks

0.0pts

No Marks

5.0pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDiagramDiagram should show community structure and composition Prior to disturbance Immediately after disturbance After succession
10.0pts

Full Marks

0.0pts

No Marks

10.0pts

 

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