Impact of recent forest management and disturbances on carbon dynamics in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
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Protected areas are recognized worldwide as being important components of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. With increasing interests in quantifying greenhouse gas emissions and potentially managing forests to increase the rate of carbon sequestration, there are urgent needs to quantify impact of forest management and disturbances on carbon dynamics. The overall goal of this study is to quantify the impact of recent forest management and disturbances on forest carbon dynamics in GYE, by integrating forest inventory, remote sensing data and carbon modeling approach. Four specific goals for this study include: (1) Develop a method to compare historical and current fire regimes using time series remote sensing data and a landscape succession model; (2) Assess post-fire and post-harvest forest recovery in GYE using time series remote sensing data; (3) Characterize recent forest management and disturbance history (1984-2011) in GYE using local management record and time series remote sensing data; (4) Quantify the impact of recent forest management and disturbances on carbon dynamics in GYE by linking forest inventory, time series remote sensing and carbon modeling. This dissertation is a synthesized analysis of the impact of recent forest management and disturbance on carbon dynamics in GYE, by integrating forest inventory, remote sensing and C modeling approach. The results of this study could contribute to a better understanding of management-disturbance-carbon interactions over ecosystems with complex management regimes and environmental gradients, such as GYE. This study provides a comprehensive and consistent annualized record of forest disturbances, post-disturbance forest recovery, carbon stocks, and relative impact of forest management and disturbance on carbon dynamics in GYE. Such a record would be useful for informed forest management and policy making, ecosystem conservation and restoration, biodiversity protection and carbon assessment in this region. With the availability of input data nationwide, this approach can be applied to the rest of U.S. for many research and management purposes.