Landscape Modeling

The Forest Scenarios Project team spatially simulated forest ecosystem dynamics in the Two Hearted River watershed for 100 years into the future under each landscape scenario using the VDDT/TELSA modeling suite developed by ESSA Technologies. Non-spatial, state and transition models of stand succession, natural disturbance, and management in each land cover type in the study areas were developed in VDDT by modifying vegetation models previously created by LANDFIRE. These models were adapted to capture local dynamics in two ways. First, the current probabilities and size distributions of fire disturbances were updated based on observations by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (Paul Kollmeyer, personal communication). Second, management parameters were added based on input from local land managers with the Michigan DNR, TNC, and the Forestland Group. Spatial setup was performed in ArcMap 9.3 (ESRI 2008). Vector based maps of current land cover and management boundaries were provided by TNC, and maps of alternative management boundaries were created in ArcMap 9.3 based on scenario descriptions.

TELSA was used to spatially simulate landscape dynamics using a yearly time step and generate maps of potential future land cover under each scenario. All scenarios were run to the year 2110 (100 years from the present). Ten Monte Carlo iterations were performed for each scenario to capture variability of stochastic natural disturbance events in the model.