A Climate Adaptation Strategy for Conservation and Management of Yellow-Cedar in Alaska
Yellow-cedar is an extremely valuable tree species along the northern Pacific coast but has been experiencing widespread mortality over the last century. Research by a team of Forest Service scientists and colleagues identified the cause of tree death as freezing injury to shallow fine roots during cold-winter and early-spring weather that occurs when snow is not present. A summary research paper published several years ago outlined a conceptual framework to develop a climate adaption strategy for yellow-cedar. This year, scientists with the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station worked with the agency’s Alaska Region experts to a write a comprehensive report that summarizes current knowledge on yellow-cedar, assess its health status throughout Alaska, and offers opportunities to adapt conservation and management of yellow-cedar in Alaska.
The report has four sections: a review of the silvics, ecology, genetics, and many other aspects of yellow-cedar; a summary of the cause of forest decline and involvement of climate; options for conservation and management of yellow-cedar on suitable and unsuitable habitats; and new models that predict the health status of yellow-cedar forests now and in the future. An appendix gives detailed tables and maps for yellow-cedar occurrence, ongoing forest decline, and future risk to decline for 34 subregions in Alaska. Land managers are adopting new opportunities for active management in decline-impacted forests (such as salvage harvest and favoring western redcedar and other tree species) and enhancing yellow-cedar in suitable areas by planting seedlings and favoring yellow-cedar during thinnings.
Forest Service Partners