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Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System Study

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Pacific Northwest Research Station
Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System Study

Corvallis Forestry Sciences Laboratory
3200 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, Oregon 97331

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

MAPSS Home > Publications > Abstract: Lenihan et al 1998



Lenihan, J.; Daly, C.; Bachelet, D.; Neilson, R. 1998. Simulating broad-scale fire severity in a dynamic global vegetation model. Northwest Science. 72: 91-103.

Simulating the impact of fire in a broad-scale dynamic global vegetation model (DGVM) used for global change impact assessments requires components and concepts not part of existing fire modeling systems. The focus shifts from fire behavior and danger at the small scale to the system-specific impacts of fire at the broad scale (i.e., fire severity). MCFIRE, a broad-scale fire severity model we are currently developing as part of our MAPSS-CENTURY DGVM, simulates the occurrence and impacts (i.e., vegetation mortality and fuel consumption) of relatively infrequent and extreme events historically responsible for the majority of fire disturbance to ecosystems. The occurrence of severe fire is strongly related to synoptic-scale climatic conditions producing extended drought, which is indicated in MCFIRE by the low moisture content of large dead fuels. Owing to constraints posed by currently available datasets, we have been developing our DGVM model on a relatively fine-scale data grid at a landscape scale, but we will implement the model at regional to global scales on much coarser data grids. Constraints on the broad-scale impact of severe fire imposed by the fine-scale heterogeneity of fuel properties will be represented in our coarse-scale simulations by subgrid parameterizations of the fire behavior and effects algorithms for distinct land surface types. Ecosystem structure and function are often constrained by disturbance, so it is critical to include disturbance processes in dynamic vegetation models used to assess the potential broad-scale impact of global change. The ability to simulate the impact of changes in fire severity on vegetation and the atmosphere has been a central focus in the development of the MAPSS-Century Dynamic Global Vegetation Model.

USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station, Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System Study
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