Integrated approaches, multiple scales: Snag dynamics in burned versus unburned landscapes

Joy Nystrom Mast, Carol L. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


By studying landscape form and patterns, we can study processes at multiple scales and determine how collectively those processes inform us about function(s). Integrating landscape ecology from a biogeographical perspective with geographic information science (GIScience) practices offers new ways to study how landscapes change over time and space, including how they can be measured, analyzed, and modeled for management needs. This article presents methodologies and selected results of analyzing spatial patterns from field data across multiple scales by examining standing dead tree (snag) processes across wildfire-disturbed landscapes in Arizona. Our primary motivation was to illustrate a particular type of work benefiting from the coalescing of landscape ecology and GIScience, functioning at the methodological and practical overlap of these two contributing fields. Our management goals were to (1) describe spatial patterns and characteristics of snags in pairs of burned and unburned ponderosa pine forests of Arizona in four recent (within the past ten years) wildfires, (2) document bird response to wildfires by combining landscape ecology and GIScience methods, and (3) link these patterns to snag monitoring plots and cavity-nesting bird use to predict the probability of snag use by birds and cavity nesters based on snag characteristics (snag use model). The methods and results demonstrate how integration of landscape ecology with both GIS and GIScience improves the ways to study landscapes and land management issues, in this case offering guidelines for retention of snags that provide habitat for wildlife.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-405
Number of pages9
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Fire ecology
  • Multiscalar
  • NDVI
  • Snag dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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