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Title: Fire in the range of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd

Author: Joly, Kyle; Rupp, T. Scott; Jandt, Randi R.; Chapin, F. Stuart III.;

Date: 2009

Source: Alaska Park Science. 8(2): 68-73

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Wildfire is the dominant ecological driver in boreal forest ecosystems. Although much less is known, it also affects tundra ecosystems. Fires effectively consume fruticose lichens, the primary winter forage for caribou, in both boreal and tundra ecosystems. We summarize 1950-2007 fire regime data for northwestern Alaska and subregions. We also identified meteorological factors that help explain the variability in fire extent across this landscape. We review information and inferences from recent studies on tundra fire regimes for managing caribou winter range. Climate warming may increase fire size and frequency in this region, which may substantially impact the vegetation, wildlife, and people of this region.

Keywords: fire, caribou, climate warming, lichen, forage, management

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Joly, Kyle; Rupp, T. Scott; Jandt, Randi R.; Chapin, F. Stuart, III. 2009. Fire in the range of the Western Arctic Caribou herd. Alaska Park Science. 8(2): 68-73.

 


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