Project Work Plan
Department of Interior USGS GE PES
Fiscal Year 2012 Study Work Plan
Study Title: Fire, Hydrology and Soils along the Mangrove Ecotone within the Greater Everglades Ecosystem
Principal Investigator: Ann M. Foster
Co-Principal Investigator: Thomas J. Smith III
Co-Principal Investigator: John W. Jones
Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Ann M. Foster U.S. Geological Survey, Southeast Ecological Science Center,
7920 NW 71st Street, Gainesville, FL 32653
(p) 352.264.3565, (f) 352.378.4965, firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Principal Investigator Contact Information:
Thomas J. Smith III U.S. Geological Survey
600 Fourth Street, South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
(p)727-803-8747 x 3130, (f)727-803-2030
Co-Principal Investigator Contact Information:
John W. Jones U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center
521 National Center, Reston, VA 20192
(p) 703-648-5543, (f)703-648-4163
Statement of Problem: Fire in the south Florida landscape has historically been influential in shaping the ecosystem. The link between hydrology, soil formation, and fire is a critical complex component in the persistence of the biotic components of the Everglades (Smith et al 2003, Beckage 2005). As a result, Everglades National Park has been at the forefront of NPS fire policy development since the inception of the park. It was the first to allow prescribed burns and one of the first to develop a fire management plan (Taylor 1981).
The occurrence of invasive exotic plants has confounded the fire regime in Everglades National Park by changing the dynamics of how the vegetation burns. This phenomenon has been observed in mangrove forests especially along ecotones with upland vegetation communities. By examining the association between fire, soil, water and vegetation we can begin to understand the ecology and dynamics of these areas.
Overall Project Objectives:
- This project will explore the interaction of fire, soil and water on the persistence of native and invasive exotic plant adjacent to the mangrove forest.
- Update ENP/BCNP fire history geodatabase to 2011 to both expand data available for project analysis and provide increased time-line of data for development and testing of remote sensing methods.
- Enhance on-going development and evaluation of remote sensing methods for mapping vegetation characteristics and monitoring vegetation changes with emphasis through this collaborative work on the targeted Mangrove - upland ecotone.
- Develop remote sensing methods to enhance information on wetland fire ecology to include greater precision in burn scar characterization and empirical information on post-fire vegetation dynamics.
- Conduct a thorough analysis of the history of fire in ENP and develop relationships between natural fires and aspects of water management (flow, hydroperiod)
- By using the fire history database we will determine which ecotones have burned more frequently than others.
- Relate fire frequency to occurrence of exotic plants along the mangrove-non-mangrove ecotones in ENP.
- Two PIs on this project recently completed the development of a fire history geo-database for EVER and BICY (Foster et al. 2009). This database will be "mined" for information on fire frequencies and location with respect to the mangrove -- non-mangrove ecotone. Additionally we will assemble data on hydrology (e.g. water depths, hydroperiod, rainfall), where it is available, to relate to the patterns of fire occurrence.
- The fire history
geodatabase will be updated with fire data for 2005 through 2010 using existing
data protocols (Appendices I, II, III).
- Updates to the fire geodatabase will be completed January 2011 after the 2010 fire season concludes.
- A variety of
mangrove ecotones will be selected for sampling, including some that have
shifted across the landscape and some that have remained stable. These will be
selected using a two stage decision process.
- First potential areas will be selected by comparing imagery over several time periods at approximately 20 to 40 year intervals.
- These areas will then be evaluated in conjunction with ENP fire managers to determine which areas will be burned.
- Study areas will be chosen based on burn/no burn areas across several different mangrove ecotone communities
- Soil samples will be collected through December 2010
- Three to five short (50cm) sediment cores will be collected across each ecotone and returned to the lab for analysis of organic matter content and percent sand, silt and clay.
- A rapid assessment of vegetation structure will be made using non-destructive techniques to determine stem densities and size frequency distributions and to provide input for vegetation remote sensing method development.
- The calibrated Landsat archive under development through the Greater Everglades Landscape Dynamics task (Jones) will be mined for independent verification of fire database records and to generate new information on burn severity, recovery periods, and vegetation characteristics with particular emphasis on the mangrove - upland ecotone.
- The Co-PI, (Smith) is very familiar with the Park's permit and reporting process. A permit application will be prepared and submitted as soon as sample site are decided on.
FY2011 Activities & Accomplishments:
- Completed the mapping of positions of the mangrove -- marsh ecotone along the Harney River for 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1987, 2004.
- Conducted a change analysis of ecotone movement and related rates of change to fire occurrence data.
- Analyzed soil / sediment cores from four sites for properties such as organic matter content, bulk density and particle size.
- Initiated mapping of mangrove marsh ecotone positions for sites at Second Onion Bay on the Lostmans River and at P35/SH1, upstream on the Shark River.
- Augmentation of fire geodatabases for the period 1994-2004 using satellite remote sensed data.
- Fire geodatabases updated through 2010.
- Assessed accuracy of standard NASA fire products for Everglades fire identification and mapping.
- Prepared and submitted an abstract for an invited oral presentation for a symposium at the 9th INTECOL meeting. Symposium title: "Fire: Shaping Wetlands from Nutrients to Wildlife." Abstract title: "Patterns in Fire - A Recorded History of Fire in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve"
- Prepared and submitted an abstract for an invited oral presentation for a symposium at the 9th INTECOL meeting. Symposium title: "Fire: Shaping Wetlands from Nutrients to Wildlife." Abstract title: "Fire, Water, Soil and Sea Level Influence the Position of Mangrove -- Marsh Ecotones Through Time"
- Prepared and submitted an abstract for an invited oral presentation for a symposium at the 9th INTECOL meeting. Symposium title: "Fire: Shaping Wetlands from Nutrients to Wildlife." Abstract title: "Tracking Everglades Fire Scar Vegetation Recovery through Archival Landsat Image Interpretation".
FY2012 Planned Activities & Accomplishments:
- Complete the mapping of mangrove -- marsh ecotone positions at the Lostmans and upper Shark River sites.
- Conduct change analyses of ecotone movement for the Lostmans and upper Shark River sites.
- Relate patterns of movement to patterns of fire occurrence.
- Assemble hydrologic data (water levels, rainfall salinity) for ENP, USGS and SFWMD sites that are near the ecotone sites.
- Determine if relationships exist between hydrologic parameters, fire and the ecotone.
- Hold workshops
with the NPS to
- discuss the fire geodatabases and their utility with regard to park research and planning activities
- demonstrate geopdf map products
- present research results, discuss utility of remote sensed fire scar/recovery products and coordinate field data collection for remote sensing research.
- Present the talk "Fire, Water, Soil and Sea Level Influence the Position of Mangrove -- Marsh Ecotones Through Time" at the 9th INTECOL meeting in Orlando, FL.
- Present the talk "Tracking Everglades Fire Scar Vegetation Recovery through Archival Landsat Image Interpretation" at the 9th INTECOL meeting in Orlando, FL.
- Present the talk "Patterns in Fire - A Recorded History of Fire in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve" at the 9th INTECOL meeting in Orlando, FL.
- Prepare and submit 3 manuscripts for inclusion in a special issue of the Journal of Fire Ecology.
- Publish fact sheet for distribution at the 9th INTECOL meeting in Orlando, FL.
- Produce geopdfs of Everglades and Big Cypress fire records.
- Update fire geodatabases with 2011 data.