A new study released in the scientific journal Ecology Letters offers one of the first confirmations of a wholesale shift in the boreal forest ecosystem due to climate change.
Among the findings, researchers said, is increased tree growth in the
Western Alaskatundra margin.
Collaborators on the study, which compared three-ring data to satellite images, include Glenn Juday, a professor of forest ecology at the
, and co-author of the article. Universityof Alaska Fairbanks
"This is one of the first extensive analyses of annual growth and climate response of black spruce in
," said Juday, who collaborated on the UAF research with Valerie Barber, Patricia Heiser and Emily Sousa. Alaska
The study found that tree growth declined across most of the current area of
boreal forest but increased in a smaller area on the cold margins of the forest. Alaska
Scientists at the
Woods Hole Research Centerand three other institutions based in Alaskaand conducted the study. UAF scientists were instrumental in the project, which involved one of the largest and most widely distributed samples of tree-ring data ever analyzed in France : 839 trees, including 627 white spruce from 46 stands and 212 black spruce from 42 stands. Alaska
"The tree rings tell us for sure what's happening on the ground, and the satellite data covers the whole region," said Juday. "Recent temperature increases have reduced tree growth over most of central
Alaska, and increased growth in places where the temperature used to be too low for optimum growth, such as the Western Alaskatundra margin. Summer temperatures in central Interior Alaska are now almost too warm for white spruce to survive."
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
A forest moves in Alaska
It sounds like something out of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, but sadly it's yet another study showing what happens when a climate changes. This latest news comes from the Arctic Sounder: