Influence of fire on long-term patterns of forest succession in Alaskan boreal forests
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): Eric S. Kasischke; Nancy H. F. French; Katherine P. O'Neill; Daniel D. Richter; Laura L. Bourgeau-Chavez; Peter A. Harrell
Editor(s): Eric S. Kasischke; Brian J. Stocks
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • Betula papyrifera
  • biomass
  • biomass burning
  • black spruce
  • boreal forests
  • broadcast burning
  • carbon
  • coniferous forests
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • moisture
  • New York
  • nutrient cycling
  • organic matter
  • Picea glauca
  • Picea mariana
  • Populus balsamifera
  • Populus tremuloides
  • soil moisture
  • soil organic matter
  • soil temperature
  • succession
  • temperature
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 29, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 46180
Tall Timbers Record Number: 21854
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The cold climate and resulting low decomposition rates in the ground layers of boreal forests (such as those found in interior Alaska) result in the development of deep organic soils. In turn, these soils have an important role in many physical, chemical, and biological processes (Van Cleve et al. 1986). In combination with the slope, aspect, elevation, and composition of the underlying mineral soil profile of a specific site (Swanson 1996), organic soils are particularly influential in regulating ground temperature and moisture. As a general rule, the presence of a deep organic soil layer serves to insulate the forest floor during the growing season, causing colder temperatures than would otherwise occur. In many forested sites, autogenic cooling resulting from deepening organic soil layers eventually leads to the formation of permafrost, which, in turn, impedes drainage and substantially increases soil moisture (Van Cleve and Viereck 1981; Van Cleve et al. 1983a, b).

Online Link(s):
Kasischke, E. S., N. H. F. French, K. P. ONeill, D. D. Richter, L. L. BourgeauChavez, and P. A. Harrell. 2000. Influence of fire on long-term patterns of forest succession in Alaskan boreal forests, in ES Kasischke and BJ Stocks eds., Fire, climate change, and carbon cycling in the boreal forest. New York, Springer-Verlag, Ecological Studies; 138, p. 214-235.