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Helene Genet

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We summarize the results of a recent interagency assessment of land carbon dynamics in Alaska, in which carbon dynamics were estimated for all major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for the historical period (1950–2009) and a projection period (2010–2099). Between 1950 and 2009, upland and wetland (i.e., terrestrial) ecosystems of the state gained 0.4 Tg C/yr (0.1% of net primary production, NPP), resulting in a cumulative greenhouse gas radiative forcing of 1.68 × 10−3 W/m2. The change in carbon storage is spatially variable with the region of the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) losing carbon because of fire disturbance. The combined carbon transport via various pathways through inland...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
The YKD is also home to the largest subsistence-based economy in Alaska. Yet, the low-lying landscape mosaic characterizing the YKD is at risk of massive change associated with projected sea level rise (SLR), increasing storm frequency and severity and permafrost degradation due to future climate change. Therefore, to conserve ecosystem services associated with the botanical and faunal richness in the YKD, management strategies in the region should not only be based on current ecosystem conditions, but also incorporate projected changes in landscape composition. The goal of this project is to provide managers and people living in the YKD, an assessment of the vulnerability of the landscape to future change and to...
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Fire is an important factor controlling the composition and thickness of the organic layer in the black spruce forest ecosystems of interior Alaska. Fire that burns the organic layer can trigger dramatic changes in the underlying permafrost, leading to accelerated ground thawing within a relatively short time. In this study, we addressed the following questions. (1) Which factors determine post-fire ground temperature dynamics in lowland and upland black spruce forests? (2) What levels of burn severity will cause irreversible permafrost degradation in these ecosystems? We evaluated these questions in a transient modeling–sensitivity analysis framework to assess the sensitivity of permafrost to climate, burn severity,...
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Modern climate change in Alaska has resulted in widespread thawing of permafrost, increased fire activity, and extensive changes in vegetation characteristics that have significant consequences for socioecological systems. Despite observations of the heightened sensitivity of these systems to change, there has not been a comprehensive assessment of factors that drive ecosystem changes throughout Alaska. Here we present research that improves our understanding of the main drivers of the spatiotemporal patterns of carbon dynamics using in situ observations, remote sensing data, and an array of modeling techniques. In the last 60 yr, Alaska has seen a large increase in mean annual air temperature (1.7°C), with the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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