A MULTIVARIATE ASSESSMENT OF THE CONNECTICUT LAKES FOREST ECOSYSTEM , NH

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2007-05

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Urban, Dean L

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Abstract

Following 100 years of intense timber harvest and in the face of potential future development, the northeastern forest ecosystem is in a period of transition. To protect forest biodiversity, wildlife habitat, water quality and recreational needs, New Hampshire Fish and Game (NHFG) acquired 25,000 acres of this forest in 2002. With the intent of tracking change and management progress in this complex ecosystem, NHFG is currently designing a monitoring program to implement in the near future. This document applies ordination techniques to analyze both forest structure and forest species composition in an attempt to compare the state of the current forest with its future potential forest type. Techniques applied here can guide the design of future monitoring efforts. Forest structure variables were analyzed using a principal components analysis (PCA) and forest species composition variables were analyzed with a non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMS) technique. Species composition was further examined to search for distinct clusters in the NMS ordination. Current forest structure was found to be similar for all plots, regardless of their future forest potential. It is possible that either past harvesting in this region diminished natural variation between forest types, or that differences within forest types are greater than those between forest types. Current forest species composition analysis revealed that there are subtle differences between plots based on species composition, but that those differences did not align by potential forest type. Existing differences are present through a gradient, not in distinct forest types. Further analysis and exploration of these techniques will give NHFG a practical, integrated tool to gauge health and track change in this complex ecosystem.

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LaPlante, Sarah (2007). A MULTIVARIATE ASSESSMENT OF THE CONNECTICUT LAKES FOREST ECOSYSTEM , NH. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/339.


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