WWETAC Projects

Project Title: Method development and application for linking VDDT and MC1: Climatizing state-and-transition models

Principal Investigators: Becky Kerns and Miles Helmstrom, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Collaborators: Dominique Bachelet, Oregon State University and Conservation Biology Institute; Dave Conklin, Conservation Biology Institute; Bart Johnson and Scott Brigham, University of Oregon; Reuben Weisz and Jack Triepke, USDA Forest Service, Region 3

Status: Ongoing

E-mail Contact: Becky Kerns, bkerns[at]fs.fed.us

Summary: An urgent need exists to incorporate climate change into tools used for natural resource planning and landscape assessments.  The Vegetation Dynamics Development Tool (VDDT) is a state and transition (STM) modeling framework that simulates the role of disturbance and management on vegetation cover and structure across landscapes. VDDT is being used by the National LANDFIRE project, state agencies (Oregon Department of Forestry, Washington Department of Natural Resources), numerous USDA Forest Service Regions (3, 4, 6, and 9), and non-government agencies (e.g. The Nature Conservancy) for landscape planning and assessments.  But existing VDDT models do not include climate impacts.  We propose incorporating climate change into VDDT models by connecting them to a dynamic vegetation model (DGVM) called MC1 used in climate change modeling.  DGVMs like MC1 project climate change impacts on vegetation, natural disturbances, and other ecological conditions but are of limited use to land managers and others because they require high levels of expertise to run, produce broad scale output that may be difficult to link to smaller areas, and generate output that may be difficult to relate to local resources of interest.  Our project will combine these two types of models for the first time.  The resulting STMs will include transitions that change vegetation potential as climate changes.

Products:  Climatized VDDT models for the Willamette Valley region, eastern Oregon Cascades and northern Arizona, and technology transfer workshop for managers (Regions 3 and 6).

Project ID: FY09BK59