Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Geography

First Advisor

John A. Kupfer

Abstract

The southeastern United States once held millions of hectares of highly connected longleaf pine ecosystem. In a dramatic range reduction, longleaf pine now occupies less than 5% of its original extent, its remnant patches existing within a matrix of human-dominated land uses. Conservation planning for longleaf pine ecosystems is complicated given the ecosystem’s reliance on fire and the broad spatial and temporal scales at which longleaf pine management must operate. Planning timelines for longleaf pine management extend into the end of the 21st century, a period during which climate, fire regimes, and land cover are all expected to change, influencing longleaf pine ecosystems. In this study, I analyzed the impacts of future changes in climate, the fire regime, and urbanization on the range of longleaf pine within the Florida flatwoods pyrome, an area covering much of central and northern Florida. I compiled data on possible scenarios of change from existing models of longleaf pine-relevant variables. In a GIS-based analysis, those variables were individually and collectively applied to known longleaf pine patches within the Florida flatwoods pyrome to help anticipate how longleaf pine stands may be differentially (or similarly) affected by future conditions. This study provides insight into the spatial distribution of longleaf pine persistence or loss and possible strain on management actions. The information produced from this study may be used to guide future longleaf pine management decisions by locating areas at particular risk of degradation, aiding in resource allocation and conservation prioritization.

Included in

Geography Commons

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