Drivers of Landscape Change in the Northwest Boreal Region

Drivers of Landscape Change in the Northwest Boreal Region

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Overview

The northwest boreal region (NWB) of North America is a land of extremes. Extending more than 1.3 million square kilometers (330 million acres), it encompasses the entire spectrum between inundated wetlands below sea level to the tallest peak in North America. Permafrost gradients span from nearly continuous to absent. Boreal ecosystems are inherently dynamic and continually change over decades to millennia. The braided rivers that shape the valleys and wetlands continually change course, creating and removing vast wetlands and peatlands. Glacial melt, erosion, fires, permafrost dynamics, and wind-blown loess are among the shaping forces of the landscape. As a result, species interactions and ecosystem processes are shifting across time.
The NWB is a data-poor region, and the intention of the NWB Landscape Conservation Cooperative is to determine what data are not available and what data are available. For instance, historical baseline data describing the economic and social relationships in association with the ecological condition of the NWB landscape are often lacking. Likewise, the size and remoteness of this region make it challenging to measure basic biological information, such as species population sizes or trends. The paucity of weather and climate monitoring stations also compound the ability to model future climate trends and impacts, which is part of the nature of working in the north. The purpose of this volume is to create a resource for regional land and resource managers and researchers by synthesizing the latest research on the historical and current status of landscape-scale drivers (including anthropogenic activities) and ecosystem processes, future projected changes of each, and the effects of changes on important resources. Generally, each chapter is coauthored by researchers and land and natural resource managers from the United States and Canada.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781602233973
Publisher: University of Alaska Press
Publication date: 01/04/2020
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 225
Sales rank: 625,660
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Carl Markon, now retired, worked for USGS as contractor (remote sensing specialist) and federal employee for more than thirty years. His last position was Deputy Regional Director, Alaska Region, USGS. Markon worked on Arctic Council, CAFF Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map and GIS. He is the lead author for the 2018 National Climate Assessment, Alaska Region. He also served as Member of the North Pacific Research Board.

Table of Contents

1 Landscape Change in the Northwest Boreal Region 5

2 Natural Drivers 13

2.1 Wildfire in the Northwest Boreal Region 15

2.2 Forest Insect and Pathogen Epidemics in the Northwest Boreal Region 21

2.3 Invasive Species in the Northwest Boreal Region 27

3 Physical Drivers 35

3.1 Climate and Climate Change in the Northwest Boreal Region 37

3.2 Hydrologic Response in the Northwest Boreal Region: Impacts on Natural Resources, Ecosystems and Communities 47

3.3 Permafrost in the Northwest Boreal Region 51

3.4 Growing Season Length in the Northwest Boreal Region 59

3.5 Enduring Features in the Northwest Boreal Region 65

4 Biological Drivers of Landscape Change 79

4.1 Vegetation Composition Change in the Northwest Boreal Region 81

4.2 Novel Community and Trophic Assemblages in the Northwest Boreal Region 87

4.3 Wildlife Parasite and Pathogen Life Cycles in the Northwest Boreal Region 97

4.4 Marine-Derived Nutrients in the Northwest Boreal Region 105

5 Socioeconomic Drivers 111

5.1 Land Use and Resource Extraction in the Northwest Boreal Region 113

5.2 Rural and Indigenous Livelihoods in the Northwest Boreal Region 123

5.3 Pollution and Contaminants in the Northwest Boreal Region 131

5.4 Law and Policy Drivers in the Northwest Boreal Region 141

5.5 Values and Ethics in Resource Management Institutions 149

6 Interactions among Drivers 157

6.1 Interactions among Drivers in the Northwest Boreal Region 159

6.2 Cumulative Effects in the Northwest Boreal Region 167

7 Practices of Coproduction 175

7.1 Meaningfully Engaging Communities 177

7.2 Evolving Roles of Scientists and Managers 189

7.3 Assessing and Projecting Change 197

7.4 Data Management and Dissemination 205

7.5 Science Communication as a Driver of Landscape Change 211

8 Summary and Synthesis 227

References Cited 257

Index 299

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