SERDP: Resiliency and Vulnerability of Boreal Forest to the Interaction of Climate and Fire

Photo Credit: Xanthe Walker

Overarching Objective:

The overarching objective of this work is to investigate changing vegetation dynamics across Department of Defense (DoD) lands of interior Alaska, building upon prior work documenting changes in arctic and boreal vegetation over the past three decades using multi-scale satellite observations and associated geospatial data sets and field measurements. This work is couched in a framework assessing the resiliency and vulnerability of boreal forest composition, thus in habitat, to observed changes in climate (temperature and moisture changes and variability) and related fire regimes.

Primary Research Objectives:

1. Spatially extend field measurements of post-fire and post-management trajectories of vegetation and habitat change with multi-temporal multi-scale satellite observations.

2. Document changes in patterns and rates of boreal tree productivity and mortality, key drivers of habitat characteristics and ecosystem services, in relation to time series of satellite-derived and other geospatial environmental variables.

3. Predict near-future (30-50 year) vulnerability to changes in boreal tree composition, productivity and mortality using outcomes of the two observationally-based objectives.

4. Interface with DoD and other state and federal land resource managers, transferring the geospatial methodologies, analysis tools and derived data products to those who will be able to make regular use of them.

Photo Credit: Garrett Frandson