Resilience of Alaska's boreal forest to climatic change
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): F. Stuart Chapin III; A. David McGuire; Roger W. Ruess; Teresa N. Hollingsworth; Michelle C. Mack; Jill F. Johnstone; Eric S. Kasischke; Eugénie S. Euskirchen; Jeremy B. Jones Jr.; Mark Torre Jorgenson; Knut K. Kielland; Gary P. Kofinas; Merritt R. Turetsky; John A. Yarie; Andrea H. Lloyd; D. Lee Taylor
Publication Year: 2010

Cataloging Information

  • albedo
  • black spruce
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • carbon
  • climate change
  • coniferous forests
  • deciduous forests
  • disturbance
  • drainage
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire management
  • fire size
  • fire suppression
  • forest fragmentation
  • forest management
  • hydrology
  • insects
  • lakes
  • landscape ecology
  • mammals
  • mosaic
  • Picea mariana
  • plant diseases
  • plant growth
  • post fire recovery
  • predation
  • radiation
  • regeneration
  • rural communities
  • soil temperature
  • succession
  • trees
  • tundra
  • wildfires
  • wildlife management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 6, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 48897
Tall Timbers Record Number: 25137
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - C
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.


This paper assesses the resilience of Alaska's boreal forest system to rapid climatic change. Recent warming is associated with reduced growth of dominant tree species, plant disease and insect outbreaks, warming and thawing of permafrost, drying of lakes, increased wildfire extent, increased postfire recruitment of deciduous trees, and reduced safety of hunters traveling on river ice. These changes have modified key structural features, feedbacks, and interactions in the boreal forest, including reduced effects of upland permafrost on regional hydrology, expansion of boreal forest into tundra, and amplification of climate warming because of reduced albedo (shorter winter season) and carbon release from wildfires. Other temperature-sensitive processes for which no trends have been detected include composition of plant and microbial communities, long-term landscape-scale change in carbon stocks, stream discharge, mammalian population dynamics, and river access and subsistence opportunities for rural indigenous communities. Projections of continued warming suggest that Alaska's boreal forest will undergo significant functional and structural changes within the next few decades that are unprecedented in the last 6000 years. The impact of these social-ecological changes will depend in part on the extent of landscape reorganization between uplands and lowlands and on policies regulating subsistence opportunities for rural communities. © 2010 National Research Council of Canada, NCR Research Press. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Chapin, F. S. et al. 2010. Resilience of Alaska's boreal forest to climatic change. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, v. 40, no. 7, p. 1360-1370. 10.1139/X10-074.