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KOYUKUK: Nine Years ofChange,Studying the Effects ofFire
Alaska Region, November 15, 2008
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Post-fire vegetation transect at Koyukuk NWR in 2001 and 2008 showing increased cover by Labrador Tea.
Post-fire vegetation transect at Koyukuk NWR in 2001 and 2008 showing increased cover by Labrador Tea. - Photo Credit: n/a

A year after a 2000 wildfire which burned an area within Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge three permanent vegetation transects were established on Koyukuk NWR.  These transects have been monitored annually and data was analyzed to show trends in vegetation change over this time.  Of particular interest to biologists are rates of lichen recovery, as this burn lies within the wintering range of the Galena Mountain Caribou Herd. 

 

Primary changes have been increased moss and shrub cover, with increased graminoid (grass) cover at one transect.  As expected, lichens have been fairly slow to recover, but small lichens are present and expanding.  Long term monitoring at this site provides valuable insight into possible changes in plant successional patterns after fires which are expected to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change.


Contact Info: Karin Lehmkuhl, (907) 656-1231, karin_lehmkuhl@fws.gov



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