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Wildland fire is the dominant large-scale disturbance mechanism in the Alaskan boreal forest, and it strongly influences forest structure and function. In this research, patterns of burn severity in the Alaskan boreal forest are characterized. First, the relationship between burn severity and area burned is quantified using a linear regression. Second, the spatial correlation of burn severity as a function of topography is modeled using a variogram analysis. Finally, the relationship between vegetation type and spatial patterns of burn severity is quantified using linear models where variograms account for spatial correlation. These results show that: 1) average burn severity increases with the natural logarithm of the area of the wildfire, 2) burn severity is more variable in topographically complex landscapes than in flat landscapes, and 3) there is a significant relationship between burn severity and vegetation type in flat landscapes but not in topographically complex landscapes. These results strengthen the argument that differential flammability of vegetation exists in the boreal forest of Alaska. Additionally, these results suggest that through feedbacks between vegetation and burn severity, the distribution of forest vegetation through time is likely more stable in the flats than it is in more complex topography.

Cataloging Information

  • Alaskan boreal forest
  • burn severity
  • fire size
  • fire variograms
  • flammability
  • linear regression
  • remote sensing
  • spatial patterns
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
Record Last Modified:
FRAMES Record Number: 7196