Ecosystem Model Comparison at Multiple Scales and Sites

Dr. Melissa Lucash | Portland State University



Ensuring the long-term sustainability of eastern US forests in the face of climate variability and change will require forest managers to have the best available climate change research at their fingertips to make sound management decisions. Ecosystem process models now allow realistic projections of future forest conditions in response to anticipated climate, natural disturbance, forest management, and their interactions that can inform forest management decisions. However, there is no single scale which is perfectly suited to addressing all climate change and management related questions. Critical patterns which emerge at fine-scales may be over averaged at larger scales and vice-versa. The objectives of this project are to, a) compare model outcomes from two modeling frameworks against empirical data and to each other, b) examine climate change, disturbance, and management interactions at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, translate these procedures, and prepare a roadmap for deployment across other forested military installations.

Back to Top

Technology Description

Researchers propose a two-stage approach for integrating climate, disturbance, and management projections at multiple scales. First, researchers will calibrate and compare each of two models, an individual-tree scale model (SORTIE-PPA) and a landscape-scale model (LANDIS-II with Century), against empirical data collected from two pine-dominated sites in the eastern US. Second, researchers will apply both models against the Ft. Bragg ecosystem in central North Carolina under multiple projections of climate change. Researchers will assess the strengths and weakness of each model and their respective capacity to accurately project a suite of ecosystem processes, including succession, disturbance and nutrient cycling, given current and potential management practices and anticipated climate change.

Researchers will work closely with Ft. Bragg to prepare both models for operational use via an iterative process that identifies goals and scenarios, data needs, and desired outputs. Both models will be delivered to Ft. Bragg fully parameterized and prepared for subsequent use, including full documentation and access to the open-source code for each model.

Back to Top


Successful demonstration and validation of the proposed ecosystem process models will help decision-makers integrate a multitude of management strategies into the context of the military mission and installation-specific natural resources management plans. Forest managers will be able to use either SORTIE-PPA or Landscape Disturbance and Succession (LANDIS)-II to estimate the effects of different management practices on the local installations over varying time horizons and spatial scale resolutions. Upon completion, this technology can be applied immediately at Fort Bragg’s more than 89,000 acres of longleaf pine forests and at other Department of Defense (DoD) installations with forested habitats.

Back to Top

Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Dr. Melissa Lucash

Portland State University

Phone: 503-725-3894

Program Manager

Resource Conservation and Resiliency