State change and vulnerability in the Alaska boreal forest

Wildfire burning in permafrost. (SNAP)

This research is designed to understand the mechanistic connections among vegetation, the organic soil layer, and permafrost ground stability in Alaska boreal ecosystems. Understanding these linkages is critical for projecting the impact of climate change on permafrost in ecosystems that are subject to abrupt anthropogenic and natural disturbances (fire) to the organic layer.

This project is funded through the US Department of Defense (DoD). The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) harnesses science and technology to improve DoD’s environmental performance, reduce costs, and enhance and sustain mission capabilities. 

What we did

We will work on DoD lands in Interior Alaska to:

  • Monitor vegetation recolonization, soils, and permafrost on a previously existing network of sites located in recent, severe wildfires next to, and on, DoD lands in Interior Alaska.
  • Extend this network to include parallel measurements at sites located in recent prescribed fires and fuel treatments on DoD lands.
  • Study vegetation stand history and organic layer re-accumulation on an established network of mid-successional boreal ecosystems next to, and on, DoD lands.
  • Use models to forecast landscape change in response to projected changes in climate, fire regime, and fire management.

What we found

Check out the RC-2109 Fact Sheet.

Areas of expertise: 
Data visualization and analysis
Research collaboration
Downloads: 
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