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Title: Studies in the wilderness areas of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge: fire, bark beetles, human development, and climate change

Author: Berg, Edward E.

Date: 2000

Source: In: McCool, Stephen F.; Cole, David N.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. 2000. Wilderness science in a time of change conference—Volume 3: Wilderness as a place for scientific inquiry; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-3. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 63-67

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Wilderness areas comprise 65% of the 1.92 million acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Fire history studies indicate that fire frequency increased substantially in both white and black spruce forests after European settlement. Dendrochronolgy studies indicate that regional-scale spruce bark beetle outbreaks occurred in the 1820s, 1880s, and 1970s. None of these outbreaks was as intense as the 1990s outbreak, which has killed most of the large white and Sitka/Lutz spruce on the southern Kenai Peninsula. Strong climatic warming appears to have accelerated the recent outbreak, probably through drought-stress of large trees. Logging of once-remote beetle-killed forests on private lands on the southwestern flank of the Refuge is shrinking available brown bear habitat and making protection of the wilderness areas more crucial.

Keywords: wilderness, fire, fire history, fire frequency, Dendroctonus rufipennis, spruce bark beetles, climate change, development, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

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Berg, Edward E. 2000. Studies in the wilderness areas of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge: fire, bark beetles, human development, and climate change. In: McCool, Stephen F.; Cole, David N.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. 2000. Wilderness science in a time of change conference—Volume 3: Wilderness as a place for scientific inquiry; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-3. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 63-67

 


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