Skip to Main Content
Climate warming, reduced snow, and freezing injury could explain the demise of yellow-cedar in southeast Alaska, USAAuthor(s): P. Hennon; D. D'Amore; D. Wittwer; A. Johnson; P. Schaberg; G. Hawley; C. Beier; S. Sink; G. Juday
Source: World Resource Review. 18(2): 427-450.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (757.3 KB)
DescriptionYellow-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) is a valuable tree species that has been experiencing concentrated mortality known as yellow-cedar decline on 200,000 ha of largely pristine forests in Southeast Alaska. Mature trees that regenerated and grew during the Little Ice Age have been dying on low elevation sites with wet soils and open canopies for about 100 years. We propose the following hypothesis to explain tree death (methods in parentheses): landscape features (digital elevation model via LiDAR) and soil properties (soil descriptions) produce poor drainage (wells and piezometers) which create open canopy forests (LiDAR and hemispherical photography) and shallow rooting; exposure allows soils to warm in early spring (air and soil temperature loggers) which triggers dehardening, the loss of cold tolerance, and eventual spring freezing injury (electrolyte leakage testing of tissues). The distribution of yellow-cedar decline is associated with areas of low snowpack in winter and spring. Snow delays soil warming and presumably protects yellow-cedar roots through periods of spring frosts. Limited to higher elevations throughout most of its natural range, perhaps yellow-cedar migrated to lower elevations during the Little Ice Age, and these trees are now vulnerable to the lack of protective snow in these exposed, open canopy forests where forest decline is now severe.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationHennon, P.; D'Amore, D.; Wittwer, D.; Johnson, A.; Schaberg, P.; Hawley, G.; Beier, C.; Sink, S.; Juday, G. 2006. Climate warming, reduced snow, and freezing injury could explain the demise of yellow-cedar in southeast Alaska, USA. World Resource Review. 18(2): 427-450.
Keywordsfreezing, forest decline, Chamaecyparis, global warming, snow, exposure
- Influence of forest canopy and snow on microclimate in a declining yellow-cedar forest of southeast Alaska
- Evaluation of soil saturation, soil chemistry, and early spring soil and air temperatures as risk factors in yellow-cedar decline.
- Twentieth-century warming and the dendroclimatology of declining yellow-cedar forests in southeastern Alaska
XML: View XML