A key for predicting postfire successional trajectories in black spruce stands of interior Alaska
Document Type: Report
Author(s): Jill F. Johnstone; Teresa N. Hollingsworth; F. Stuart Chapin III
Publication Year: 2008

Cataloging Information

  • black spruce
  • boreal
  • boreal forests
  • catastrophic fires
  • cover
  • cover type
  • disturbance
  • disturbance
  • dominance (ecology)
  • fire frequency
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • hardwoods
  • interior Alaska
  • mesic soils
  • mineral soils
  • moisture
  • organic soils
  • Picea
  • Picea mariana
  • post fire recovery
  • regeneration
  • regeneration
  • reproduction
  • soil management
  • soil moisture
  • soil organic matter
  • soil temperature
  • succession
  • succession
  • tundra
  • wildfires
  • xeric soils
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 4, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 47449
Tall Timbers Record Number: 23389
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.88:PNW-767
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.


Black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill) B.S.P.) is the dominant forest cover type in interior Alaska and is prone to frequent, stand-replacing wildfires. Through impacts on tree recruitment, the degree of fire consumption of soil organic layers can act as an important determinant of whether black spruce forests regenerate to a forest composition similar to the prefire forest, or to a new forest composition dominated by deciduous hardwoods. Here we present a simple, rule-based framework for predicting fire-initiated changes in forest cover within Alaska's black spruce forests. Four components are presented: (1) a key to classifying potential site moisture, (2) a summary of conditions that favor black spruce self-replacement, (3) a key to predicting postfire forest recovery in recently burned stands, and (4) an appendix of photos to be used as a visual reference tool. This report should be useful to managers in designing fire management actions and predicting the effects of recent and future fires on postfire forest cover in black spruce forests of interior Alaska.

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (4.3 MB; pdf)
Johnstone, Jill F.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Chapin, F. Stuart, III. 2008. A key for predicting postfire successional trajectories in black spruce stands of interior Alaska. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-767. Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 37 p.