IAB Research Project Description

Assessing Wildfire Burn Susceptibility to Invasive Plant Colonization in Black Spruce Forests of Interior Alaska

Credit: Marie Gilbert/IAB information officer

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A warming climate has increased fire disturbance in Interior Alaska and the likelihood of invasive plant success. This study aims to assess black spruce forest susceptibility to invasive species colonization in wildfire burn areas. We propose to evaluate invasive plant germination, growth and reproductive success in burns of varying severity and age. The research will make use of previously studied burn sites along the Alaskan highway system, including sites burned in 2004 that span a gradient of burn severity and sites that span a fire chronosequence beginning in 1915. Three high-risk species from three plant families (Bromus inermis ssp. inermis, Hieracium aurantiacum, and Melilotus alba) will be used to investigate susceptibility to invasion. The relationships between burn severity, burn age and susceptibility to invasion can then be used by land managers to focus invasive plant monitoring and prevention efforts.

Project Funding

Center for Invasive Plant Management
1 Nov 2006 – 31 Oct 2007
IAB Proposal #06-103
UAF Grant #G3356
IAB Project #89

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