Mapping a forest mosaic

TitleMapping a forest mosaic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsHall KR, Maruca SL
JournalPlant Ecology

Many areas of ecological inquiry require the ability to detect and characterize change in ecological variables across both space and time. The purpose of this study was to investigate ways in which geographic boundary analysis techniques could be used to characterize the pattern of change over space in plant distributions in a forested wetland mosaic. With vegetation maps created using spatially constrained clustering and difference boundary delineation, we examined similarities between the identified boundaries in plant distributions and the occurrence of six species of songbirds. We found that vegetation boundaries were significantly cohesive, suggesting one or more crisp vegetation transition zones exist in the study site. Smaller, less cohesive boundary areas also provided important information about patterns of treefall gaps and dense patches of understory within the study area. Boundaries for songbird abundance were not cohesive, and bird and vegetation difference boundaries did not show signficant overlap. However, bird boundaries did overlap significantly with vegetation cluster boundaries. Vegetation clusters delineated using constrained clustering techniques have the potential to be very useful for stratifying bird abundance data collected in different sections of the study site, which could be used to improve the efficiency of monitoring efforts for rare birds species.