|Schumacher, S; Reineking, B; Sibold, J; Bugmann, H: Modeling the impact of climate and vegetation on fire regimes in mountain landscapes, Landscape Ecology, 21, 539-554 (2006)|
Assessing the long-term dynamics of mountain landscapes that are influenced by large-scale natural and anthropogenic disturbances and a changing climate is a complex subject. In this study, a landscape-level ecological model was modified to this end. We describe the structure and evaluation of the fire sub-model of the new landscape model LANDCLIM, which was designed to simulate climate-fire-vegetation dynamics. We applied the model to an extended elevational gradient in the Colorado Front Range to test its ability to simulate vegetation composition and the strongly varying fire regime along the gradient. The simulated sequence of forest types along the gradient corresponded to the one observed, and the location of ecotones lay within the range of observed values. The model captured the range of observed fire rotations and reproduced realistic fire size distributions. Although the results are subject to considerable uncertainty, we conclude that LANDCLIM can be used to explore the relative differences of fire regimes between strongly different climatic conditions.