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Title: Dynamics of disturbed Mexican pine-oak forest : a modelling approach
Author: Golicher, John Duncan
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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A description of a case study forest is combined with computer-based simulation to develop a model of the dynamics of disturbed pine-oak forest in Southern Mexico. Contemporary ecological theory surrounding the problem of predicting forest dynamics is briefly reviewed. A conceptual framework for the study is presented based on a consideration of scale and a view of the forest as a whole system. Data provided by a forest inventory are used in a spatially explicit multivariate analysis that reveals both simple spatial patterns of species distribution and high local variability in forest structure and composition. Initial results of monitoring temporal change in permanent sample plots are analysed and an estimate of forest productivity produced. Slash and burn farming is proposed as the principal cause of the disturbance which has shaped the documented pattern. Mortality of trees caused by a recent forest fire is summarised using logistic regression models. The rates of recolonisation and the persistence of trees by resprouting following disturbance are documented. Multivariate analysis is used to reveal trends in species composition in abandoned slash and burn sites. Non parametric techniques for estimating species richness and species-area relationships are subjected to critical evaluation when applied to the problem of comparing the diversity of woody species in slash and burn sites and closed forest. The human decision making process associated with slash and burn clearance is described and modelled using Bayesian networks which synthesise indigenous knowledge of the system. A critical review of individual based forest models (IBMs) introduces a computer simulation approach to studying the dynamics of the disturbed forest. An IBM is programmed and parameterised using data obtained from the site. Measurements of tree growth rings and canopy light permeability are incorporated in the model. The model is validated against the inventory data.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available