As increasingly severe wildfires burn more of the North American West each year, how people living there use fuel treatments, such as prescribed burns or planting fire-resistant trees around their homes, can determine how destructive fires will be to communities. The National Science… Read more
Project will help train the next generation of Arctic scientists in wildlife ecology, environmental informatics, natural resource management and social science
Wild caribou are the single most important land-based species for both human communities and ecosystems in the Arctic. Abundant across the polar region, these animals play an essential role both as herbivores that impact tundra vegetation and as an important source of food to… Read more
Drought—even in a single year—can leave aspen more vulnerable to insect infestation and other stressors decades later, a new study by NAU researchers found. Aspen trees that were not resilient to drought stayed smaller than others, growing more slowly and succumbing to an outbreak of insects known as aspen leaf miners that have plagued interior Alaska for more than two decades.
The findings, led by research specialist Melissa Boyd and Regents’ professor Michelle Mack of the Center for Ecosystem Science… Read more
New long-term data from a permafrost monitoring site in Healy, Alaska, suggest it was a net carbon source to the atmosphere at least since 2004 and, under current climate conditions as the region grows warmer, will continue to be one, potentially losing up to a fifth of all carbon stored… Read more
If the fate of carbon is a test that planet Earth is taking right now, one of the answer keys is likely to be found in soil, where microorganisms—which account for nearly 15 percent of global biomass, by some estimates—eat, store and respire carbon and other nutrients. As Earth warms, how these microbes change the way they live will have potentially big consequences for where the carbon goes.
Now, a team… Read more
The boreal forest is home to one-third of the Earth’s forest cover and stores 40 percent of the planet’s terrestrial carbon. North America’s boreal forest alone, which spans the northern portion of the continent from Alaska all the way to Newfoundland, covers an astounding 1.5 billion acres—more than 2.3 million square miles.
As mega-fires in the boreal forest become more frequent and more intense, scientists believe the burning of… Read more