Forest succession and climate variability interacted to control fire activity over the last four centuries in an Alaskan boreal landscape View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle     


Article Info

DATE

2019-01-19

AUTHORS

Tyler J. Hoecker, Philip E. Higuera

ABSTRACT

ContextThe boreal forest is globally important for its influence on Earth’s energy balance, and its sensitivity to climate change. Ecosystem functioning in boreal forests is shaped by fire activity, so anticipating the impacts of climate change requires understanding the precedence for, and consequences of, climatically induced changes in fire regimes. Long-term records of climate, fire, and vegetation are critical for gaining this understanding.ObjectivesWe investigated the relative importance of climate and landscape flammability as drivers of fire activity in boreal forests by developing high-resolution records of fire history, and characterizing their centennial-scale relationships to temperature and vegetation dynamics.MethodsWe reconstructed the timing of fire activity in interior Alaska, USA, using seven lake-sediment charcoal records spanning CE 1550–2015. We developed individual and composite records of fire activity, and used correlations and qualitative comparisons to assess relationships with existing records of vegetation and climate.ResultsOur records document a dynamic relationship between climate and fire. Fire activity and temperature showed stronger coupling after ca. 1900 than in the preceding 350 yr. Biomass burning and temperatures increased concurrently during the second half of the twentieth century, to their highest point in the record. Fire activity followed pulses in black spruce establishment.ConclusionsFire activity was facilitated by warm temperatures and landscape-scale dominance of highly flammable mature black spruce, with a notable increase in temperature and fire activity during the twenty-first century. The results suggest that widespread burning at landscape scales is controlled by a combination of climate and vegetation dynamics that together drive flammability. More... »

PAGES

227-241

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s10980-018-00766-8

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10980-018-00766-8

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1111541041


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