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Describing a Landscape Mosaic: Forest Structure and Composition across Community Types and Management Regimes in Inland Northeastern Pitch Pine Barrens

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Pitch pine barrens of the Northeast are a globally rare, biodiverse ecosystem whose unique characteristics rely on fire. In many of these barrents, a variety of stressors including fire exclusion and novel pest impacts are leading to habitat degradation and loss. In a new study published in Forest Ecology and Management, a research team including NE CASC Principal Investigator Anthony D'Amato supports conservation and adaptive management in the face of these challenges by assessing two inland pine barrens: the Albany Pine Bush in New York and the Ossipee Pine barrens in New Hampshire.

The study finds that differences in forest structure and composition across community types support the concept of pine barrens as a landscape mosaic. It also concludes that burning, thinning, and their combination were all effective management strategies for maintaining conditions historically associated with pine barrens and that a lack of active management leads to a transition away from these conditions. The range of conditions documented in this and previous studies underscores the necessity of managing pine barrens with a diversity of management strategies and disturbance regimes if the full mosaic is to be preserved.