Forest dynamics in the temperate rainforests of Alaska: from individual tree to regional scalesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Analysis of remeasurement data from 1079 Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plots revealed multi-scale change occurring in the temperate rainforests of southeast Alaska. In the western half of the region, including Prince William Sound, aboveground live tree biomass and carbon are increasing at a rate of 8 ( ± 2 ) percent per decade, driven by an increase in Sitka spruce. In the Alexander Archipelago, western red cedar is increasing, as is overall biomass on gentler slopes and in higher latitudes. These increases, which occurred during a warmer period of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, correspond well with regional predictions of forest change in a warming climate. In the 180 thousand ha of managed forests on the Tongass National Forest, aboveground live tree carbon was found to be stable between the two inventory periods. And at the regional level, analysis of FIA data showed no significant change in the yellow-cedar population, despite widespread publicity for a ‘decline’ in this species. While FIA remeasurement data provides insight at a variety of scales, alterations in forest definition and other inventory methods complicated analysis.