Document


Title

Studies in the wilderness areas of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge: fire, bark beetles, human development, and climate change
Document Type: Report
Author(s): Edward E. Berg
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • bark beetle outbreak
  • boreal
  • climate change
  • Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
  • wilderness
  • wildfire
Region(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 9, 2015
FRAMES Record Number: 5607

Description

Wilderness areas comprise 65% of the 1.92 million acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Fire history studies indicate that fire frequency increased substantially in both white and black spruce forests after European settlement. Dendrochronolgy studies indicate that regional-scale spruce bark beetle outbreaks occurred in the 1820s, 1880s, and 1970s. None of these outbreaks was as intense as the 1990s outbreak, which has killed most of the large white and Sitka/Lutz spruce on the southern Kenai Peninsula. Strong climatic warming appears to have accelerated the recent outbreak, probably through drought-stress of large trees. Logging of once-remote beetle-killed forests on private lands on the south-western flank of the Refuge is shrinking available brown bear habitat and making protection of the wilderness areas more crucial.

Online Link(s):
Citation:
Berg, Edward E. 2000. Studies in the wilderness areas of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge: fire, bark beetles, human development, and climate change. Wilderness science in a time of change conference-Volume 3: Wilderness as a place for scientific inquiry. Proceedings RMRS-P-15 Vol.3. Ogden, UT: USDA, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. pp. 63-67.