A Hierarchical Patch Dynamics Approach to Regional Modeling and ScalingEPA Grant Number: R827676
Title: A Hierarchical Patch Dynamics Approach to Regional Modeling and Scaling
Investigators: Wu, Jianguo , Green, Douglas
Institution: Arizona State University - West
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: October 15, 1999 through October 14, 2002
Project Amount: $629,540
RFA: Regional Scale Analysis and Assessment (1999) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Aquatic Ecosystems , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration
Description:Urbanization is a major force that has drastically transformed the surface of the earth everywhere, resulting in devastating effects on ecosystem structure and function. In the Phoenix metropolitan region, agriculture and urbanization have changed the Sonoran desert landscape rapidly and profoundly. Based on the hierarchical patch dynamics modeling and scaling approach, we propose to conduct a multiple-scale and integrative study along an urban-agricultural-natural gradient in this region to understand ecosystem responses to land transformation. Our major research goals are two-fold: (1) To develop and test a hierarchical patch dynamics modeling and scaling approach to regional analysis and assessment by linking ecosystem processes to land use/land cover pattern at the landscape and regional scales, and (2) To develop an understanding of how land use change (esp. urbanization) affects ecosystem production and carbon and nitrogen dynamics at the regional scale in relation to regional sustainability and global climate change.
Project Summary: Solutions to ecological and environmental problems entail understanding and prediction of natural and anthropogenic patterns and processes on broad spatial and temporal scales. However, most ecological studies have been conducted on fine scales, and as a consequence our knowledge of our environment also is polarized towards local scales. Thus, a grand challenge for regional scale analysis and assessment is to unravel how spatial heterogeneity at coarse scales affects ecological processes, and to develop scaling strategies and rules for extrapolating information from the local ecosystem to the landscape and to the region. We propose to implement and test a hierarchical patch dynamics modeling and scaling approach that deals explicitly with spatial heterogeneity, functional complexity, and multiplicity of scale across landscapes. We will use this approach to investigate one of the most pressing environmental and ecological problems today: How does urbanization affect the landscape structure and ecosystem processes at the regional scale?