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Type: Poster
Author(s): Randi R. Jandt; Eric A. Miller; Carson A. Baughman; Benjamin M. Jones; Go Iwahana
Publication Date: January 2018

Can fire accelerate the changes in the arctic that climate is already inducing and could a single fire event trigger a threshold change in arctic vegetation communities, with far-reaching implications?  Ten years following a large and severe wildfire in the arctic foothills north of the Brooks Range, Alaska, tundra is experiencing rapid biophysical changes. The Anaktuvuk River Fire burned about 104,000 ha in 2007, spreading over broad ranges in parent soils, topography, hydrography, and permafrost features. Plant communities are responding to primary disturbance by fire but also to permafrost degradation, terrain subsidence, and apparent increase in soil drainage or evapotranspiration. Re-burns were documented within the fire area (in an ecotone where fire return intervals are estimated close to 1,000 years) and large increases in biomass (fuels) may be contributory. In order to track the diverse landscape scale changes occurring on large disturbances, collaboration with remote sensing scientists is needed to scale up field data collected by agencies both spatially and temporally. Application of remote sensing technology as part of the future monitoring is also desirable due to its cost effectiveness in a time of shrinking agency budgets. Key questions include: what are changes in fuelbed height and moisture content? How significant are changes in surface roughness and topology (due to subsidence) and do they correlate with burn severity? How does surface and subsurface layer moisture content change? Is snow depth altered in burn scars due to surface and/or vegetation change (impacting wildlife, subsistence and permafrost)? Several (listed) ABoVE investigations may be collaborative

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Link to this document (4.2 MB; pdf)
Citation: Jandt, Randi; Miller, Eric A.; Baughman, Carson; Jones, Benjamin M.; Iwahana, Go. 2018. Tundra fire accelerates de-frosting of America’s icebox - poster.

Cataloging Information

  • 2007 Anaktuvuk River Fire
  • burn severity
  • climate change
  • fire regime
  • hydrology
  • permafrost
  • soil temperature
  • soils
  • tundra fire
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 25694