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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Tree Mortality in Gap Models: Application to Climate Change

Authors
item Keane, R - USDA FOREST SERVICE, MT
item Austin, Mike - CSIRO-DIV WILDLIFE & ECOL
item Dahlman, Roger - US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
item Field, Christopher - CARNEGIE INST OF WASH
item Huth, Andreas - UNIV OF KASSEL, GERMANY
item Lexer, Manfred - UNIV AGRIC SCI, AUSTRIA
item Peters, Debra
item Solomon, Allen - US EPA, WESTERN ECOL DIV
item Wyckoff, Peter - DUKE UNIVERSITY, BOTANY

Submitted to: Climatic Change
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 25, 2001
Publication Date: December 1, 2001
Citation: KEANE, R.E., AUSTIN, M., DAHLMAN, R., FIELD, C., HUTH, A., LEXER, M.J., PETERS, D.C., SOLOMON, A., WYCKOFF, P. TREE MORTALITY IN GAP MODELS: APPLICATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE. CLIMATIC CHANGE. 2001. V. 51. P. 509-540.

Interpretive Summary: Modeling vegetation dynamics using individual plant-based gap models has been conducted for a variety of ecosystems types, including forests and rangelands. The most extensive use of gap model has been in forests. Although the structure and design of gap models is similar for many ecosystems, a critical evaluation of the limitations of these models and their algorithms has not been conducted. In this paper, we review the treatment of mortality in gap models for forests and then assess the prospects for making improvements in these models in the future.

Technical Abstract: Gap models have been used extensively to study successional dynamics for a wide variety of purposes and applications. Moreover, the gap model structure and design have been used in a host of other forest and grassland succession models; comparisons have also been made between forest and grassland structure and dynamics using gap models. Yet, considering the widespread use of gap models, it seems somewhat surprising that few modelers have critically evaluated the limitations of gap modeling and shortcomings of the algorithms that comprise the gap model. A model component that has received the least critical attention is the simulation of plant death (i.e., mortality), which is strikingly similar across nearly all gap models. In this paper, we review the treatment of mortality in gap models, evaluate the relationships used to control mortality in the current generation of gap models, and then assess the prospects for making improvements, especially for applications involving global climate change.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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