Event Title

Ecosystem Classification in the Central Rocky Mountains, Utah

Event Website

http://www.nafew2009.org/

Start Date

6-22-2009 3:40 PM

End Date

6-22-2009 4:00 PM

Description

Currently there is no comprehensive terrestrial ecosystem classification for the Central Rocky Mountains of the United States. Fundamentals of the British Columbian biogeoclimatic classification system, together with elements of the Daubenmire habitat type, Mueggler community type, and the USDA Forest Service Terrestrial Ecological Unit Inventory approaches, were used to develop a classification of ecosystems in a montane-subalpine watershed (10,000 ha, 2,000 - 3,000 m elevation) in northern Utah. As is typical in the Central Rocky Mountains, vegetation complexity within the watershed is associated with a steep elevation gradient, as well as great diversity in landform, parent material, and disturbance history. An exploration of fundamental drivers associated with diverse vegetation and feasible stratification of that heterogeneous landscape is a main research objective. We sampled both forest (spruce-fir, Douglas-fir, aspen, juniper, and mahogany woodland) and non-forest (willow riparian, sagebrush, tall forb meadow) ecosystems in terms of existing plant communities, topo-edaphic, and physiognomic features; 163 sites were described in the watershed in terms of, e.g., elevation, landform, slope, aspect, nutrient pools and dynamics. We used SNOTEL and COOP databases for relevant climatic data. We analyzed this complex dataset by ordination and classification to gain insight into fundamental factors/gradients associated with diverse vegetation. Mesoclimate (regional climate) effectively discriminates between three vegetation zones (vegetation-climatic classification) and serves as the basic framework for site classification. For each zone, we are able to construct an edatopic grid with axes represented by topo-edaphic regime (local climate) and soil nutrient regime. These three principal gradients account together for half of the total variance in the dataset. The ecosystem classification provides considerable insight into the distribution of, and ecological relationships between, different ecosystems (e.g., conifer, aspen, woodland, and riparian/wetland).

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Jun 22nd, 3:40 PM Jun 22nd, 4:00 PM

Ecosystem Classification in the Central Rocky Mountains, Utah

Currently there is no comprehensive terrestrial ecosystem classification for the Central Rocky Mountains of the United States. Fundamentals of the British Columbian biogeoclimatic classification system, together with elements of the Daubenmire habitat type, Mueggler community type, and the USDA Forest Service Terrestrial Ecological Unit Inventory approaches, were used to develop a classification of ecosystems in a montane-subalpine watershed (10,000 ha, 2,000 - 3,000 m elevation) in northern Utah. As is typical in the Central Rocky Mountains, vegetation complexity within the watershed is associated with a steep elevation gradient, as well as great diversity in landform, parent material, and disturbance history. An exploration of fundamental drivers associated with diverse vegetation and feasible stratification of that heterogeneous landscape is a main research objective. We sampled both forest (spruce-fir, Douglas-fir, aspen, juniper, and mahogany woodland) and non-forest (willow riparian, sagebrush, tall forb meadow) ecosystems in terms of existing plant communities, topo-edaphic, and physiognomic features; 163 sites were described in the watershed in terms of, e.g., elevation, landform, slope, aspect, nutrient pools and dynamics. We used SNOTEL and COOP databases for relevant climatic data. We analyzed this complex dataset by ordination and classification to gain insight into fundamental factors/gradients associated with diverse vegetation. Mesoclimate (regional climate) effectively discriminates between three vegetation zones (vegetation-climatic classification) and serves as the basic framework for site classification. For each zone, we are able to construct an edatopic grid with axes represented by topo-edaphic regime (local climate) and soil nutrient regime. These three principal gradients account together for half of the total variance in the dataset. The ecosystem classification provides considerable insight into the distribution of, and ecological relationships between, different ecosystems (e.g., conifer, aspen, woodland, and riparian/wetland).

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nafecology/sessions/classification/3