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Alaska's Changing Fire Regime - Implications for the Vulnerability of Its Boreal ForestsA synthesis was carried out to examine Alaska s boreal forest fire regime. During the 2000s, an average of 767 000 ha/year burned, 50% higher than in any previous decade since the 1940s. Over the past 60 years, there was a decrease in the number of lightning-ignited fires, an increase in extreme lightning-ignited fire events, an increase in human-ignited fires, and a decrease in the number of extreme human-ignited fire events. The fraction of area burned from humanignited fires fell from 26% for the 1950s and 1960s to 5% for the 1990s and 2000s, a result from the change in fire policy that gave the highest suppression priorities to fire events that occurred near human settlements. The amount of area burned during late-season fires increased over the past two decades. Deeper burning of surface organic layers in black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) forests occurred during late-growing-season fires and on more well-drained sites. These trends all point to black spruce forests becoming increasingly vulnerable to the combined changes of key characteristics of Alaska s fire regime, except on poorly drained sites, which are resistant to deep burning. The implications of these fire regime changes to the vulnerability and resilience of Alaska s boreal forests and land and fire management are discussed.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Kasischke, E. S.
(Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
Hoy, E. E.
(Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
Verbyla, D. L.
(Alaska Univ. Fairbanks, AK, United States)
Rupp, T. S.
(Alaska Univ. Fairbanks, AK, United States)
Duffy, P. A.
(Alaska Univ. Fairbanks, AK, United States)
McGuire, A. D.
(Geological Survey Fairbanks, AK, United States)
Murphy, K. A.
(National Wildlife Refuge System Anchorage, AK, United States)
Jandt, R.
(Bureau of Land Management Wainwright, AK, United States)
Barnes, J. L.
(National Park Service Fairbanks, AK, United States)
Calef, M.
(State Univ. of New York Albany, NY, United States)
Turetsky, M. R.
(Guelph Univ. Ontario, Canada)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
June 28, 2010
Publication Information
Publication: Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume: 40
Subject Category
Earth Resources And Remote Sensing
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: PNW01-JV11261952-231
CONTRACT_GRANT: CSREES 2008-35615-18959
Distribution Limits
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