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    Author(s): Kyle Joly; T. Scott Rupp; Randi R. Jandt; F. Stuart Chapin
    Date: 2009
    Source: Alaska Park Science. 8(2): 68-73
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (1.71 MB)

    Description

    Wildfire is the dominant ecological driver in boreal forest ecosystems. Although much less is known, it also affects tundra ecosystems. Fires effectively consume fruticose lichens, the primary winter forage for caribou, in both boreal and tundra ecosystems. We summarize 1950-2007 fire regime data for northwestern Alaska and subregions. We also identified meteorological factors that help explain the variability in fire extent across this landscape. We review information and inferences from recent studies on tundra fire regimes for managing caribou winter range. Climate warming may increase fire size and frequency in this region, which may substantially impact the vegetation, wildlife, and people of this region.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Joly, Kyle; Rupp, T. Scott; Jandt, Randi R.; Chapin, F. Stuart, III. 2009. Fire in the range of the Western Arctic Caribou herd. Alaska Park Science. 8(2): 68-73.

    Keywords

    fire, caribou, climate warming, lichen, forage, management

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