Compiling, synthesizing and analyzing existing boreal forest fire history data in Alaska - Proposal to the Joint Fire Science Program
Document Type: Proposal
Author(s): Diana L. Olson; James B. Cronan; Ann E. Camp; Jennifer L. Barnes; Donald McKenzie
Publication Year: 2006

Cataloging Information

  • black spruce
  • boreal fire
  • dendrochronology
  • FERA - Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team
  • fire perimeter mapping
  • fire scars
  • lake sediments
  • soil charcoal
  • tree age
  • white spruce
JFSP Project Number(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: September 23, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 1246


The Alaska Interagency Fire Management Plan recognizes the critical role of wildland fires in maintaining the ecological integrity of boreal forests. Identifying and maintaining natural fire regimes is an important component of fire management and is a wise undertaking from both an economic and ecological perspective. We have identified 24 existing research projects in the boreal forests of Alaska that directly or indirectly address historical fire regimes, and there are undoubtedly more projects we have yet to identify. Thirteen of the 24 identified projects are either unpublished, have an extensive amount of unprocessed samples, or their data were used for other purposes. Furthermore, there has not been a compilation and comprehensive assessment of these data to provide a more complete understanding of how fire has historically impacted the boreal forest ecosystems of Alaska. The objectives of this proposed project are to compile, synthesize and analyze boreal forest fire history datasets that already exist in Alaska. This proposal is being presented in two parts. Part 1 will review, compile, synthesize, and provide access to existing fire history datasets. This includes a literature review of fire history publications in boreal forests in Alaska, and incorporation of the reference information into the Alaska Fire Reference Database (accessible through FIREHouse, the Northwest and Alaska Fire Research Clearinghouse). Existing published and unpublished fire history datasets will be compiled (and processed, as necessary) into a standardized database (the Alaska Boreal Forest Fire History Database). Access to the database will be provided both statically (as a downloadable database) and dynamically (within the Alaska Fire Effects Plots Map ArcIMS project on FIREHouse). Data compiled in the Alaska Boreal Forest Fire History Database will be submitted to the International Multiproxy Paleofire Database (IMPD). Finally, the literature review and compiled data will be synthesized and published in report format as the Alaska Boreal Forest Fire History Synthesis. The synthesis will be made available to managers and researchers as a hardcopy publication, as well as a digital publication through FIREHouse. If the data compiled in Part 1 are temporally and spatially explicit enough to justify large-scale spatial and temporal analyses (e.g. comparisons between fire history and topography, vegetation, climate, etc.), such analyses will be conducted during Part 2 of the proposed project. Findings of the spatial and temporal analyses would be made available through a peer-reviewed journal article and included in the Alaska Boreal Forest Fire History Synthesis. A summary of the findings and a link to the publication will be provided on FIREHouse. Updates and results for both Parts 1 and 2 of this project would be presented to Alaska fire managers and researchers at the annual Alaska Fall Fire Workshop and the AWFCG Fire Effects Task Group meetings in 2007 and 2008.

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (335 KB; pdf)
Olson, D.L., J.B. Cronan, A.E. Camp, J.L. Allen and D. McKenzie. 2006. Compiling, synthesizing and analyzing existing boreal forest fire history data in Alaska - Proposal to the Joint Fire Science Program. JFSP Project No. 06-3-1-26. Seattle, WA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, Fire and Environmental Research Applications (FERA) Team. 12 p.