Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Model Predicts Evolution Of Mediterranean Landscape Following Fires

Date:
July 30, 2009
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Scientists have developed a mathematical and cartographical model that make it possible to view how Mediterranean landscapes evolve in the aftermath of forest fires.

Changes in the vegetation 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, assuming no fires or disturbances to the landscape.
Credit: J.D.A. Millington et al

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.

Related Articles


"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", Raϊl 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, says.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Millington et al. Modelling Mediterranean landscape succession-disturbance dynamics: A landscape fire-succession model. Environmental Modelling & Software, 2009; 24 (10): 1196 DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2009.03.013

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Model Predicts Evolution Of Mediterranean Landscape Following Fires." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730073913.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2009, July 30). Model Predicts Evolution Of Mediterranean Landscape Following Fires. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730073913.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Model Predicts Evolution Of Mediterranean Landscape Following Fires." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730073913.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) — For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) — Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins