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dc.contributor.authorJohnstone, Jill Frances
dc.date.accessioned2018-06-14T01:29:09Z
dc.date.available2018-06-14T01:29:09Z
dc.date.issued2003
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11122/8658
dc.descriptionThesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2003
dc.description.abstractBecause of the key role played by fire in structuring boreal forest ecosystems, interactions between vegetation and fire regime may be an important and dynamic control of forest response to climate change. This research uses a series of field observations and experiments in boreal forests to examine the nature of several potential fire and vegetation interactions, and how such interactions may influence forest response to climate change. Long-term observations of post-fire succession provide information on the timing of tree establishment and the effects of early establishment on subsequent successional trajectories. The role of competitive interactions in driving patterns of early establishment was tested with experimental manipulations of aspen (Populus tremuloides) cover after fire. This research demonstrated that competition by aspen re-sprouts may reduce the success of conifer establishment and favor long-term dominance by deciduous trees. The effects of fire severity on successional trajectories were tested in a series of field experiments that contrasted patterns of seedling establishment across differences in depth of the post-fire organic layer. All species in the experiment responded negatively to decreased fire severity, but deciduous trees were more sensitive in their response than conifers. Thus, variations in burn severity are likely to mediate deciduous establishment in organic-rich stands. Observations of natural tree regeneration in stands that burned at different ages also indicate that a decrease in fire interval can influence the relative abundance of deciduous and coniferous species by reducing conifer establishment. Over longer time scales, changes in biota caused by species migration may influence fire and vegetation interactions. Observations of post-fire regeneration at the current distribution limits of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) indicate that continued range expansion of pine could initiate rapid shifts in dominance from spruce to pine within a single fire cycle. Together, these results provide insight into the dynamic feedbacks between fire and vegetation that can lead to high levels of system resilience, while also promoting rapid responses when threshold conditions are crossed. A more complete understanding of these interactions will improve our ability to manage and predict boreal ecosystem responses to a changing climate.
dc.subjectEcology
dc.titleFire And Successional Trajectories In Boreal Forest: Implications For Response To A Changing Climate
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.degreephd
dc.identifier.departmentDepartment of Biology and Wildlife
dc.contributor.chairF. Stuart Chapin, III
refterms.dateFOA2020-03-05T16:11:05Z


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