WCS 3-Sentence Science

Climate Change and Shifting Alaskan Forests

July 11, 2019

Credit: Lauren Oakes

ach year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.

Here we present work by WCS’s Lauren Oakes on how climate change is impacting forest dynamics in Alaska.

  1. Climate change is altering the conditions for tree recruitment, growth, and survival, and impacting forest community composition.
  2. Researchers found that climate-induced forest mortality of Alaska yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis) is driving alternate successional pathways that are likely to lead to long-term shifts in forest community composition and stand dynamics.
  3. The analysis fills a critical knowledge gap on forest ecosystem response and rearrangement following the climate-driven decline of a single species, providing new insight into stand dynamics in a changing climate.

Study and Journal: “From canopy to seed: Loss of snow drives directional changes in forest composition” from Ecology and Evolution
WCS Co-Author(s): Lauren Oakes, Conservation Scientist and Adaptation Specialist

For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, ssautner@wcs.org.

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WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

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Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.