Drivers of Post-Fire Regeneration in Larch Forests of Northeastern Siberia
Eric Bradley Borth
The Arctic is warming at an alarming rate, a phenomenon which has been causing more frequent and severe wildfires in boreal forests. The Cajander larch (Larix cajanderi) forests of Siberia are particularly important because they cover an immense area of carbon-rich permafrost soil, one of the largest terrestrial carbon sinks. The fate of this belowground carbon is intimately tied to the structure of these larch forests. Due to the fact that forest structure is largely determined by the establishment of new seedlings after forest fires, we seek to learn more about how these changes in fire regimes may change the factors that drive seedling establishment. We examine 6 Cajander larch stands in northeastern Siberia that have been burned in the past 15 years. We evaluate the importance of microsites that favor larch establishment (deemed “safe sites”), a concept that has been anecdotally recorded, but not rigorously studied. We analyze the strength of seedling preference by comparing the percentage of seedlings that establish on safe sites to the percentage of the land area that is covered by safe sites. This analysis is being carried out in burned sites with varying seed availability to determine whether seed limitation affects safe site preference. Based on our current data, we hypothesize that seed availability will be the most important driver of regeneration, and that safe sites will be more important where there is greater seed limitation. These results will help us understand the patterns of change in larch forests in the face of climate change.
Ryan W. McEwan
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium project
"Drivers of Post-Fire Regeneration in Larch Forests of Northeastern Siberia" (2018). Stander Symposium Projects. 1379.