Recovery after fire
Changes in key drivers (e.g., climate, disturbance regimes and land use) may affect the sustainability of forest landscapes and set the stage for increased tension among competing ecosystem services. We addressed two questions about a suite of supporting, regulating and provisioning ecosystem services in each of two well-studied forest landscapes in the western US: (1) How might the provision of ecosystem services change in the future given anticipated trajectories of climate, disturbance regimes, and land use? (2) What is the role of spatial heterogeneity in sustaining future ecosystem services? We determined that future changes in each region are likely to be distinct, but spatial heterogeneity (e.g., the amount and arrangement of surviving forest patches or legacy trees after disturbance) will be important in both landscapes for sustaining forest regeneration, primary production, carbon storage, natural hazard regulation, insect and pathogen regulation, timber production and wildlife habitat. The paper closes by highlighting five general priorities for future research. The science of landscape ecology has much to contribute toward understanding ecosystem services and how land management can enhance-or threaten-the sustainability of ecosystem services in changing landscapes.