Applied Mathematics, University of Waterloo
Multiple Disturbances in Forest Ecosystems: A Dynamical Model of Forest Pests and Wildfire
Resilience to large disturbances, such as fire, storms, and drought, is a factor that has shaped the pine forests of Western North America for millennia. Many pine species depend on large, stand replacing fires to maintain healthy populations in their endemic range, and bark beetles to accelerate turnover of weak and aging trees. However, two or more of these stressors can interact in un-intuitive, nonlinear ways, especially under anthropogenic climate change and modern forest fire suppression. We develop a dynamical model coupling wildfire and bark beetle dynamics in order to test the logic of suggested hypotheses for their interactions and explore whether the resulting nonlinear dynamics of these hypotheses match observed patterns.