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Title: Mapping regional forest management units: a road-based framework in Southeastern Coastal Plain and Piedmont
Management practices are one of the most important factors affecting forest structure and function. Landowners in southern United States manage forests using appropriately sized areas, to meet management objectives that include economic return, sustainability, and esthetic enjoyment. Road networks spatially designate the socio-environmental elements for the forests, which represented and aggregated as forest management units. Road networks are widely used for managing forests by setting logging roads and firebreaks. We propose that common types of forest management are practiced in road-delineated units that can be determined by remote sensing satellite imagery coupled with crowd-sourced road network datasets. Satellite sensors do not always capture road-caused canopy openings, so it is difficult to delineate ecologically relevant units based only on satellite data. By integrating citizen-based road networks with the National Land Cover Database, we mapped road-delineated management units across the regional landscape and analyzed the size frequency distribution of management units. We found the road-delineated units smaller than 0.5 ha comprised 64% of the number of units, but only 0.98% of the total forest area. We also applied a statistical similarity test (Warren’s Index) to access the equivalency of road-delineated units with forest disturbances by simulating a serious of neutral landscapes. The outputs more » showed that the whole southeastern U.S. has the probability of road-delineated unit of 0.44 and production forests overlapped significantly with disturbance areas with an average probability of 0.50. « less
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Forest Ecosystems
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National Science Foundation
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