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Title: Effects of moisture limitation on tree growth in upland and floodplain forest ecosystems in interior Alaska

Author: Yarie, John.;

Date: 2008

Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 256: 1055-1063.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The objective of this study was to examine the impact of summer throughfall on the growth of trees, at upland and floodplain locations, in the vicinity of Fairbanks, Alaska. Corrugated clear plastic covers were installed under the canopy of floodplain balsam poplar/white spruce stands and upland hardwood/white spruce stands to control soil moisture recharge as a result of summer precipitation. The covers were installed in 1989 and tree growth measurements were conducted through 2005. Soil moisture dynamics were measured using TDR techniques. Tree basal area growth at dbh in the control plots was approximately twice as high on the floodplain compared to the upland. Summer throughfall exclusion significantly decreased white spruce growth on the floodplain sites but not in the upland sites. In upland sites the melting snow pack is a major moisture resource for tree growth although it is not clear if moisture limitation occurs during the summer in the control plots. However in the floodplain stands white spruce growth was highly dependent on seasonal throughfall even though the ground water table was within the rooting zone and the soils were supplied with a spring recharge due to snowmelt. A number of factors were suggested as a foundation for this strong relationship. These include rooting distribution, soil texture, and the electrical conductivity of the ground water.

Keywords: boreal forest, summer drought, tree growth, upland, floodplain, Picea glauca, Betula neoalaskana, Populus tremuloides, P. balsamifera

Publication Notes:

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Yarie, John. 2008. Effects of moisture limitation on tree growth in upland and floodplain forest ecosystems in interior Alaska. Forest Ecology and Management. 256: 1055-1063.


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