Recovery of lichen in tussock tundra following fire in Northwestern Alaska
Document Type: Report
Author(s): Randi R. Jandt; Cynthia Randy Meyers
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • caribou
  • cottongrass
  • Eriophorum spp.
  • fire
  • fire management
  • fire recovery
  • lichen
  • point-intercept
  • Rangifer
  • reindeer
  • sampling
  • tundra
  • Western Arctic Caribou Herd
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 28, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 5898


Paired permanent vegetative cover transects were established after a small (2 ha) 1981 tundra fire in the Buckland River valley of western Alaska. Data on the regeneration of forage lichens was collected 14 years after the burn and compared to conditions in adjacent unburned plots. Graminoids, primarily cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum), were stimulated by the fire and still more vigorous on the burn area (55% cover in burn vs. 44% in adjacent unburned area). Lichen cover on burned plots had recovered very little (1%) compared to unburned plots (15%). Further study is required to establish a regeneration curve, but data from older burns in tussock tundra in western Alaska indicates the recovery period for fire-disturbed ranges of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd (WACH) is well over 25 years. Recovery times appear similar to those reported for the Northwest Territories of Canada. Land and wildlife managers need information on lichen regeneration timelines specific to their region in order to establish sound fire management guidelines for caribou (Rangifer tarandus) winter range. Point-intercept sampling, compared to canopy cover estimation, proved to be a more efficient sampling technique in the tundra cover type.

Online Link(s):
Jandt, Randi R.; Meyers, Cynthia Randy. 2000. Recovery of lichen in tussock tundra following fire in Northwestern Alaska. BLM-Alaska Open File Report 82. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office. Anchorage, Alaska. 25 pp.