Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Model predicts evolution of Mediterranean landscape following fires

03.08.2009
An international research team has developed a mathematical and cartographical model that make it possible to view how Mediterranean landscapes evolve in the aftermath of forest fires. In order to carry out this research study, published recently in the journal Environmental Modelling & Software, the authors studied a Special Protection Area for Birds to the south west of Madrid.

"We have developed a model that shows on maps how various types of plants develop in a Mediterranean landscape, with the role of fire included as an integral feature in Mediterranean vegetation dynamics", Raúl Romero Calcerrada, a researcher in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Technology at the King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, and co-author of the study published online in the journal Environmental Modelling & Software, tells SINC.

The area studied was Special Protection Area for Birds (SPAB) number 56, which covers the Holm oak woodland along the Alberche and Cofio rivers to the south west of Madrid. "Although these results could also be extrapolated to other Mediterranean regions", Romero points out.

The model is an original one, which predicts the most probable way in which vegetation will develop according to the variables introduced. It takes into consideration parameters such as the dispersal of plants (by shoots or seeds), their distribution over space and time, and the resources they compete for (primarily light and water).

Such ecosystems can generally evolve from grassland to scrubland (with rock rose, lavender and broom), later to transitional woodland (with pines, juniper and some Holm oaks) and finally to a Holm oak forest over a period of around 100 years. However, this evolution may be affected by a range of factors.

The results show, for example, that if the ground is dry, or there is a lack of Holm oak acorns, a burned area can turn into a pine forest within 30 years. However, in good water and soil conditions, the ecosystem could develop into a deciduous chestnut and melojo oak forest.

"The intensity and number of fires have a direct effect on how the vegetation evolves and the types of plants that grow", says Romero, who also points to the significant influence of humans on this and other factors affecting Mediterranean areas. In fact, this research study is part of a broader study into changes in soil use in rural areas, and will be incorporated into other models to help decision making about land use in these areas.

Cellular automata to represent fire

"We used 'cellular automata' to represent how fires spread, bearing in mind the flammability of the ground cover, the gradient of the land, wind speed and moisture levels of the vegetation", the lead author of the study, James D. A. Millington, from Michigan State University in the United States, tells SINC. 'Cellular automata' are mathematical tools used in artificial intelligence to track the movement of linked objects within a grid (in this case a map).

Millington says this model is able to represent landscapes over areas in excess of 1,000 hectares on a map with high spatial resolution (of 0.01 - 10 ha) and over timescales ranging from annual to more than a century.

Aside from these two researchers, other scientists from the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and Sheffield University and King's College in London, in the United Kingdom, also took part in the study.

Reference: James D. A. Millington, John Wainwright, George L. W. Perry, Raul Romero-Calcerrada and Bruce D. Malamud. "Modelling Mediterranean landscape succession-disturbance dynamics: A landscape fire-succession model". Environmental Modelling & Software 24 (10): 1196-1208, 2009

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA eyes Pineapple Express soaking California

24.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

New gene for atrazine resistance identified in waterhemp

24.02.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>