Modeling Species Richness within the East Texas Longleaf Pine Ecosystem and a Study of the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis



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The longleaf pine ecosystem had an extensive range throughout the southeast continental United States. Since the arrival of the Europeans to the continent the ecosystem has been reduced to a fraction of its original extent, losing many endemic species. One of the key elements to maintenance of species richness within the longleaf pine ecosystem is the presence of a well-maintained fire regime. An ongoing fire regime within the longleaf pine ecosystem helps to promote the establishment and growth of one of the most rich and diverse ecosystems outside of the tropics.
I created a model to predict species richness within this fire-maintained ecosystem. I measured species richness within increasing nested plots at the community level to calculate C and z values to see if I could apply them to predict the species richness at the landscape level. The model was able to predict with some accuracy the species richness of several known floras within the longleaf pine ecosystem of east Texas. Future management within the longleaf pine ecosystem can use this model to predict what standards should be meet for the use of management practices.



Longleaf pine, Species richness, Species area curves, Fire ecology