You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Disturbance and Regrowth in Southeast Alaska Forests Shows Spatial Patterning

Photo of Regional change in southeast Alaskan forests is created by asymmetrical fine-scale disturbance and growth. USDA Forest ServiceRegional change in southeast Alaskan forests is created by asymmetrical fine-scale disturbance and growth. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Southeast Alaska is gaining forest area on the northern side of mountain slopes, higher latitudes, and higher elevations while losing forest area on southern aspects and lower latitudes. Gains in forest area and biomass exceed the losses. Early detection of changes is helpful for understanding how forests may continue to change in the future.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Barrett, Tara M. 
Research Location : Alaska
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 765

Summary

Natural forest growth is important to carbon sequestration patterns, and climate is likely to alter both disturbances and regrowth. Forest Service scientists used remote sensing and inventory data to examine recent trends in biomass and forest area in southeast Alaska. They found that while rainforest dynamics occur at a very small spatial scale (less than 1,000 square meters), the net result of thousands of individual events is regionally patterned change. Forest area gains were concentrated on northerly aspects, lower elevations, and higher latitudes, whereas loss was skewed toward southerly aspects and lower latitudes. Repeated measures on inventory plots also showed biomass increases on gentler slopes and higher latitudes. This research can help land managers understand how the temperate rainforests of Alaska are changing over time.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • University of Alaska Southeast