Research Brief: Fire Severity Filters Regeneration Traits to Shape Community Assembly in Alaska’s Boreal Forest

 Fire Severity Filters Regeneration Traits RB-2014-1thumbto Shape Community Assembly in Alaska’s Boreal Forest:  A recent paper by Hollingsworth et al. (2013) proposes that fire severity and a plant’s intrinsic regeneration strategy are key determinants in post-fire community recovery.  The authors identify species that may fare better or worse with predicted changes in Alaska’s fire regime. Hollingsworth–who is based at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks–bases her findings on a large (n = 87) and geographically diverse set of post-fire plots in interior Alaska boreal forest.   Read More >>  |  Download Research Brief PDF (850 kb)

Research Brief: Is Alaska’s Forest Crossing a Threshold?

 Is Alaska’s Boreal Forest Now Crossing a Major Ecological Threshold?: rb-2013-4-thumbnailRead up on what Alaskan forest and climate research has found out about the influence of warming climate on boreal forests in the Interior!  Here’s a new 2-page Research Brief that digests one of the more significant papers on forest and climate change.  The authors– Dan Mann, Scott Rupp, Mark Olson and Paul Duffy– are well-known to Alaska fire managers. This is a good basis to our upcoming focus on multi-faceted influences of dynamic climate on fire regime, forests, and fire management in Alaska in 2014!     Read More >>  |  Download PDF (861 kb)

Future global wildland fire season severity

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Global wildland fire season severity in the 21st century: A 1-page research brief summarizes a recently published article by Canadian fire scientist Mike Flannigan of the University of Alberta.  Dr. Flannigan is well-known in Alaska fire management circles due to his contributions to boreal forest wildfire studies and the Canadian large fire database.   This 2013 article describes the use of component indices of the Canadian Fuels Danger Rating System to forecast future changes in fire season severity world-wide. Download >> | Research Brief  (pdf, 180 kb) or link to the full scientific article.

ACCAP hosted a webinar with Dr. Flannigan in July 2013. Watch the recording here.

Climate, Fire, Frost and the Carbon Bank Research Brief

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Climate, Fire, Frost and the Carbon Bank: This 2-page research brief summarizes several years of field studies–citing recently published articles–by USGS soil scientists Jennifer Harden and Kristen Manies.  Their studies shed new light on the impact of fires on permafrost in Alaska boreal forest, and  interactions of fire effects and freezing effects on the forest floor.  The insulating moss/duff layer plays a critical role in protecting permafrost and conditions suitable for the rapid regrowth of permafrost are keys to determining whether boreal forest will retain its ability to store large amounts of biomass carbon.     Read More >>  |  Download PDF (1.5 Mb)

News: “Wetlands: Drying Intensifying Wildfires, Carbon Release Ninefold, Study Finds”

This new article from Science Daily summarizes findings from the first project “to investigate the effect of drainage on carbon accumulation in northern peatlands and the vulnerability of that carbon to burning.”

Read the FULL ARTICLE from Science Daily.

Read the published journal article:   M.R. Turetsky, W.F. Donahue, B.W. Benscoter. Experimental drying intensifies burning and carbon losses in a northern peatland. Nature Communications, 2011; 2: 514 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1523

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New JFSP Brief – Rising Temps Trigger Ecological Changes in the Boreal Forest of Alaska

Key Findings:

1.  Understory or overstory Composite Burn Index (CBI) ratings for 10 fires were not substantially affected by slope aspect, and elevation, but for two of the fires, results related to timing, or burn season, were significant.

2.  Within the next 50 years, simulation results indicate that boreal forest vegetation will likely shift from primarily spruce-dominated to deciduous-dominated.

3.  Despite the shift to less flammable species, simulation results predict an increase in fire frequency and number of acres burned annually.

4.  ALFRESCO model simulations and changes in the projected cumulative area burned suggest a general rise in fire activity through the end of this century, with the most rapid change in fire activity occurring in the next 20-30 years.

READ MORE of this summary….

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