Identifying indicators of state change and forecasting future vulnerability in Alaskan boreal forest
Document Type: Report
Author(s): Edward A. G. Schuur; A. David McGuire; Jill F. Johnstone; Michelle C. Mack; T. Scott Rupp; Eugénie S. Euskirchen; Helene Genet; April M. Melvin; Matt Frey; Melanie Jean; Xanthe J. Walker; Emily Tissier
Publication Year: 2015

Cataloging Information

  • Betula neoalaskana
  • black spruce
  • boreal forest
  • carbon
  • carbon isotopes
  • cations
  • climate change
  • dendroclimatology
  • drought stress
  • ecological modeling
  • feedback
  • fire severity
  • forest regeneration
  • growth-climate relationships
  • invasive species
  • model coupling
  • nitrogen
  • nutrient cycling
  • paper birch
  • permafrost
  • Picea mariana
  • radiocarbon
  • seedling establishment
  • soil
  • succession
  • vegetation dynamics
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: September 19, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 22250


This research is designed to understand the mechanistic connections among vegetation, the organic soil layer, and permafrost ground stability in Alaskan 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. We hypothesize that major threshold change is more likely to occur in ecosystems that are already at the margins - forests that, historically, are already stressed - and in fires that are at the extremes in terms of size or severity. We expect that severe fires occurring in forest stands that have not experienced deep burning as part of the recent fire cycle will consume a larger proportion of the organic soil layer and have the greatest potential for permafrost destabilization. We hypothesize that drought-stressed forest stands are more likely to shift to an alternate, deciduous, successional trajectory after fire and that moss percent cover and organic soil re-accumulation are negatively related to the percent cover of deciduous canopy tree species. This project is funded through the US Department of Defense (DoD). The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP).

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (5.4 MB; pdf)
Schuur, Edward A. G.; McGuire, A. David: Johnstone, Jill F.; Mack, Michelle; Rupp, T. Scott; Euskirchen, Eugenie S.; Genet, Helene; Melvin, April M.; Frey, Matthew; Jean, Melanie; Walker, Xanthe. 2015. Identifying indicators of state change and forecasting future vulnerability in Alaskan boreal forest. University of Florida. 75 p.