An Ecohydrological Cellular Automata Model Investigation of Juniper Tree Encroachment in a Western North American Landscape

Leonardo Noto, Domenico Caracciolo, Erkan Istanbulluoglu

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Abstract

Woody plant encroachment over the past 140 years has substantially changed grasslands in western North American. We studied encroachment of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis) into a previously mixed shrubâgrassland site in central Oregon (USA) using a modified version of Cellular Automata TreeâGrassâShrub Simulator (CATGraSS) ecohydrological model. We developed simple algorithms to simulate three encroachment factors (grazing, fire frequency reduction, and seed dispersal by herbivores) in CATGraSS. Local ecohydrological dynamics represented by the model were first evaluated using satellite-derived leaf area index and measured evapotranspiration data. Reconstructed pre-encroachment vegetation cover percentages and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD 2006) vegetation map were used to estimate parameters for encroachment factors to represent juniper encroachment in CATGraSS. Model sensitivity experiments examined the influence of each encroachment factor and their combinations on trajectories of modeled percent cover of each plant functional type and emergent spatial vegetation patterns in the modeled domain. Simulation results identified grazing as the key factor leading to juniper encroachment, by reducing shrub and grass cover and promoting the formation of juniper tree clusters. Reduced fire frequency and increased seed dispersal by grazers further amplified juniper encroachment into grassland patches between clusters of juniper trees. Each encroachment factor showed different consequences on modeled vegetation patterns. Time series of modeled plant cover and spatial patterns of plant functional types were found to be consistent with an existing conceptual model described in the literature. The proposed model provides a tool that can be used to improve our understanding of the drivers and processes of woody plant encroachment and vegetation response to global change.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1104-1123
Numero di pagine20
RivistaEcosystems
Volume20
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017

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cellular automaton
Cellular automata
simulator
vegetation
seed dispersal
woody plant
woody plants
vegetation cover
Simulators
Juniperus occidentalis
grazing
grasslands
grassland
Seed
Fires
ground cover plants
global change
Evapotranspiration
land cover
leaf area index

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology

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title = "An Ecohydrological Cellular Automata Model Investigation of Juniper Tree Encroachment in a Western North American Landscape",
abstract = "Woody plant encroachment over the past 140 years has substantially changed grasslands in western North American. We studied encroachment of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis) into a previously mixed shrub{\^a}grassland site in central Oregon (USA) using a modified version of Cellular Automata Tree{\^a}Grass{\^a}Shrub Simulator (CATGraSS) ecohydrological model. We developed simple algorithms to simulate three encroachment factors (grazing, fire frequency reduction, and seed dispersal by herbivores) in CATGraSS. Local ecohydrological dynamics represented by the model were first evaluated using satellite-derived leaf area index and measured evapotranspiration data. Reconstructed pre-encroachment vegetation cover percentages and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD 2006) vegetation map were used to estimate parameters for encroachment factors to represent juniper encroachment in CATGraSS. Model sensitivity experiments examined the influence of each encroachment factor and their combinations on trajectories of modeled percent cover of each plant functional type and emergent spatial vegetation patterns in the modeled domain. Simulation results identified grazing as the key factor leading to juniper encroachment, by reducing shrub and grass cover and promoting the formation of juniper tree clusters. Reduced fire frequency and increased seed dispersal by grazers further amplified juniper encroachment into grassland patches between clusters of juniper trees. Each encroachment factor showed different consequences on modeled vegetation patterns. Time series of modeled plant cover and spatial patterns of plant functional types were found to be consistent with an existing conceptual model described in the literature. The proposed model provides a tool that can be used to improve our understanding of the drivers and processes of woody plant encroachment and vegetation response to global change.",
author = "Leonardo Noto and Domenico Caracciolo and Erkan Istanbulluoglu",
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T1 - An Ecohydrological Cellular Automata Model Investigation of Juniper Tree Encroachment in a Western North American Landscape

AU - Noto, Leonardo

AU - Caracciolo, Domenico

AU - Istanbulluoglu, Erkan

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Woody plant encroachment over the past 140 years has substantially changed grasslands in western North American. We studied encroachment of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis) into a previously mixed shrubâgrassland site in central Oregon (USA) using a modified version of Cellular Automata TreeâGrassâShrub Simulator (CATGraSS) ecohydrological model. We developed simple algorithms to simulate three encroachment factors (grazing, fire frequency reduction, and seed dispersal by herbivores) in CATGraSS. Local ecohydrological dynamics represented by the model were first evaluated using satellite-derived leaf area index and measured evapotranspiration data. Reconstructed pre-encroachment vegetation cover percentages and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD 2006) vegetation map were used to estimate parameters for encroachment factors to represent juniper encroachment in CATGraSS. Model sensitivity experiments examined the influence of each encroachment factor and their combinations on trajectories of modeled percent cover of each plant functional type and emergent spatial vegetation patterns in the modeled domain. Simulation results identified grazing as the key factor leading to juniper encroachment, by reducing shrub and grass cover and promoting the formation of juniper tree clusters. Reduced fire frequency and increased seed dispersal by grazers further amplified juniper encroachment into grassland patches between clusters of juniper trees. Each encroachment factor showed different consequences on modeled vegetation patterns. Time series of modeled plant cover and spatial patterns of plant functional types were found to be consistent with an existing conceptual model described in the literature. The proposed model provides a tool that can be used to improve our understanding of the drivers and processes of woody plant encroachment and vegetation response to global change.

AB - Woody plant encroachment over the past 140 years has substantially changed grasslands in western North American. We studied encroachment of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis) into a previously mixed shrubâgrassland site in central Oregon (USA) using a modified version of Cellular Automata TreeâGrassâShrub Simulator (CATGraSS) ecohydrological model. We developed simple algorithms to simulate three encroachment factors (grazing, fire frequency reduction, and seed dispersal by herbivores) in CATGraSS. Local ecohydrological dynamics represented by the model were first evaluated using satellite-derived leaf area index and measured evapotranspiration data. Reconstructed pre-encroachment vegetation cover percentages and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD 2006) vegetation map were used to estimate parameters for encroachment factors to represent juniper encroachment in CATGraSS. Model sensitivity experiments examined the influence of each encroachment factor and their combinations on trajectories of modeled percent cover of each plant functional type and emergent spatial vegetation patterns in the modeled domain. Simulation results identified grazing as the key factor leading to juniper encroachment, by reducing shrub and grass cover and promoting the formation of juniper tree clusters. Reduced fire frequency and increased seed dispersal by grazers further amplified juniper encroachment into grassland patches between clusters of juniper trees. Each encroachment factor showed different consequences on modeled vegetation patterns. Time series of modeled plant cover and spatial patterns of plant functional types were found to be consistent with an existing conceptual model described in the literature. The proposed model provides a tool that can be used to improve our understanding of the drivers and processes of woody plant encroachment and vegetation response to global change.

UR - http://hdl.handle.net/10447/241066

UR - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10021-016-0096-6

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