Aquatic Ecosystem Vulnerability to Fire and Climate Change
Fire is the dominant ecological disturbance process in boreal forests (coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and larches) and fire frequency, size and severity are increasing in Alaska owing to climate warming. However, interactions among fire, climate, permafrost, vegetation and hydrologic and watershed processes are poorly understood, yet critical for conservation and management of boreal aquatic habitats in a changing environment. In this webinar, the Alaska CASC supported authors will address this challenge in interior Alaska. Their work includes characterizing physical and biological mechanisms driving aquatic habitat dynamics and productivity in fire impacted watersheds, and developing an integrated modeling framework to quantify future impacts of fire and climate on aquatic habitats and population vulnerability. They also worked directly with land managers to develop management objectives and scenarios to explore interactions between fire management and future climate scenarios and the effects on aquatic habitats using a structured decision making process. This work will increase land managers’ capacity to project and respond to environmental change in boreal aquatic ecosystems, and develop an improved understanding of mechanistic linkages among key ecosystem processes.