Project


Title

Impacts of Past Warming Episodes on Fire Frequency, Carbon Fluxes and Soil Erosion in the Alaskan Boreal Forest: Lessons from the Past
Principal Investigator(s):
  • Daniel H. Mann
Cooperator(s):
Contact(s):
  • Gwendolen M. Griscavage
    University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Jason W. Theis
    University of Alaska Fairbanks
Completion Date: January 14, 2015

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • boreal forest
  • carbon change
  • carbon flux
  • fire frequency
  • permafrost
  • soil erosion
Region(s):
JFSP Project Number(s):
12-3-01-27
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 15, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 19062

Description

As part of my dissertation, I propose to study the interactions between climate change, wildland fires, and post-fire permafrost thaw over the last 1,000 years (permafrost; permanently frozen ground occurring in boreal regions). The last 1,000 years has seen sizable climate changes in Alaska including the Medieval Warm Period (MWP, AD 950-1250), the Little Ice Age (LIA, AD 1300-1900), and the dramatic warming trend that has occurred in Alaska since AD 1950 (1). My overall research question is: What effects have warming episodes in the recent past had on fire frequency, carbon fluxes, and soil erosion in black spruce forest in Interior Alaska? To study the these interactions I will use a unique time series provided by annually layered lake sediment records (varves). Through these varved records, I will be able to quantify the changing inputs of charcoal, and thaw-induced soil erosion from Interior Alaskan watersheds at annual time steps. Results of this study will be useful in forecasting how wildland fire regimes and boreal-forest landscapes could respond to further climatic warming over the coming century. This project is being proposed for the climate change and fire category of the GRIN fellowship.