Global average temperatures are projected to rise over this century and beyond, causing continued changes in all components of the climate system. Temperature increases will vary regionally and seasonally; for example, temperature increases at polar latitudes are expected to be greater than increases near the equator (USGCRP 2014 Ch. 2). Part of this future warming is inevitable due to the long-lived greenhouse gases that are already present in Earth’s atmosphere.
U.S. Geological Survey, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service
FS Research Station(s):
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Researchers from the PNW Research Station and the Department of the Interior examined options for monitoring ecoregional-level change in northern latitudes. Climate-related changes to Alaska’s forests that could be monitored include changes in abundance and rarity of vascular plants, wildlife habitat, invasive species, fire risk, fire effects, postfire succession, impacts on forest growth and mortality from insects and diseases, and alterations in carbon pools and fluxes. Although managers of individual parks and refuges often have specific needs that require more targeted monitoring, regional level monitoring can help provide context for changes observed within smaller areas.
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The researchers published an assessment of the Forest Service’s forest inventory program for monitoring climate-related change in Alaska’s forests in a 2011 special issue of the journal Biological Conservation. This report can be found at www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/39897. This information and an associated 2009 symposium on monitoring in northern latitudes led to the creation of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, a multiagency effort to coordinate federal monitoring.