Ecosystems of UMBS


Landscape ecosystems are a means of understanding the spatial patterns of and the functional interrelationships in forest ecosystems. Landscape ecosystem research is a multifactor, holistic approach to identifying, classifying, describing, and mapping terrain ecosystems. Abiotic and biotic factors are integrated in the field to distinguish repeating units similar in ecological structure and function. Landscape ecosystems are identified by simultaneous integration of physiographic, soil, and vegetation information. The more stable components--physiography and soil--largely determine local climate, and water and nutrient relations, and thus the interrelationships of physiography and soil form the foundation of a landscape ecosystem classification. Vegetation is seen as a phytometer that integrates the many abiotic factors and their interactions, and therefore reflects differences in ecosystem structure and function. When the three main ecosystem factors are analyzed simultaneously, one can perceive interrelationships that result in ecologically meaningful differences among segments of the ecosphere. Landscape ecosystems are spatial; they are volumetric, multi-dimensional segments of earth, whose components include soil, water, atmosphere, solar radiation, and biota. These segments can be identified, classified, described, and mapped at various scales. From the years of 1988 to 2001, various graduate students of Burton V. Barnes completed their masters thesis and dissertations in this pursuit. The attached data set is a culmination of these individual work. Each plot has measurements at various scales within the 10 by 30 meet plot. A stratified random design was used to locate plot locations. The random design was stratified by major and minor landforms in the region. All trees within the plot where identified and dbh was measured. All individual shrubs where identified and abundance was counted within the entire plot. Soils pits locations for each plot where selected randomly within the vegetation plot. Soil pits where dug up to 3 meters and soil horizons where classified.