IAB Research Project Description

Primary Succession of Yukon River Floodplains

Credit: Photo courtesy of Knut Kielland

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Knut Kielland

Credit: Photo courtesy of Knut Kielland

Any and all uses of these images must include photographer credit.

Floodplains of major rivers in Interior Alaska are highly dynamic and biologically productive systems. They are structurally, dynamically and ecologically unique habitats within the boreal forest and are very important for a wide variety of wildlife species. They also are the most important habitats to humans, from a variety of perspectives:

(1) Major transportation corridors by boat in summer and snow machine in winter;

(2) Prime areas for accessing the major subsistence, commercial and sport resources of the region – fish, moose and furbearers; and

(3) High site productivity for the commercially important white spruce.

We propose to combine resources from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Boreal Ecology Cooperative Research Unit (USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station) with in-kind support from the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in a comparative study of early successional plant communities and soils of the Tanana River near Fairbanks with those of the Yukon River within the Yukon Flats NWR. The Yukon River is a larger river system than the Tanana River at those points of comparison and likely differs in other significant ways as well. However, early successional communities have not been studied, per se, on the Yukon River in the Yukon Flats region. Therefore, they provide a “clean slate” for writing our predictions before field testing.

Project Funding

U.S. Forest Service
31 May 2005 – 30 Apr 2008
IAB Proposal #07-045
UAF Grant #G4120
IAB Project #124

Media Contact

Marie Thoms
Communications/Web Manager
Institute of Arctic Biology
302A Irving I
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
email: methoms@alaska.edu
phone: 907.474.7412