Master of Environmental Studies (MES)
Geography & Environmental Studies
Faculty of Arts
D. Scott Slocombe
The dynamics of landscape pattern and disturbance were studied in the ‘green belt’ area of Kluane National Park, Yukon. White spruce montane forests and various sub-alpine and alpine vegetation communities dominate the study area, adjoining the Kluane Ranges of the St. Elias Mountains. Combining theory on landscape structure and function, the relationships of disturbance regimes and landscape pattern are examined. The landscape mosaic was mapped from classiﬁcation of multispectral Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery. Landscape pattern was measured using quantitative indices of patch, class, and landscape attributes. Natural disturbance regimes, important to land cover development in the region, include ﬁre, insect infestation, and geomorphological processes. The impact of these disturbances on landscape pattern is governed by the frequency, intensity, distribution, size, and synergism of their occurrence. The landscape of the Kluane region experiences infrequent, large-scale ﬁre and insect disturbances and frequent, smaller-scale ﬂuvial disturbances. Heterogeneity of landscape types is maintained through the cycles of repeating disturbance; however, the long return interval of catastrophic disturbance allows some homogeneity to establish in the montane forests. The high landscape diversity is also a function of highly variable topographic and micro- climatic conditions.
Wurtele, A. Bruce, "Natural disturbance and land cover patterns in a mountainous, sub-Arctic environment (Yukon)" (1999). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 423.