The Resource Conservation and Resiliency program area is excited about an upcoming webinar on June 29th at 9 am PT/12 pm ET. The webinar is entitled “Future Vulnerabilities to Alaskan Ecosystems and Tools for Permafrost Assessment” and will feature two speakers, Mr. Kevin Bjella and Dr. Michelle Mack.

The SERDP and ESTCP webinar series is an excellent way to learn about ongoing projects across the five program areas. In addition, it allows for interaction with the researchers on the project through a live question and answer session.

Naturally Occurring Wildfire in an Alaskan Boreal Forest

Mr. Kevin Bjella with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory is the Principal Investigator for a project entitled: “Improving Design Methodologies and Assessment Tools for Building on Permafrost in a Warming Climate”. The goal of this work is to develop a set of knowledge-based decision tools that will provide better information to Department of Defense (DoD) planners and engineers faced with building in this challenging environment. These tools will aid in the full spectrum of tasks related to construction in Interior Alaska. This project will be completed in 2018.

Dr. Ted Schuur from the University of Florida was the Principal Investigator for a completed project that was entitled: “Identifying Indicators of State Change and Forecasting Future Vulnerability in Alaskan Boreal Ecosystems”. Dr. Shuur’s co-investigator, Dr. Michelle Mack will be presenting their work. Results of this study support and expand upon the understanding of the linkages among fire, soils, permafrost, and vegetation succession across multiple analytical scales. The results support the understanding that increased wildfire severity and loss of the soil organic layer (SOL) increases permafrost thaw in the near-term and influences seedling establishment and successional trajectories, shifting forest composition from black spruce dominated ecosystems to those comprised of deciduous tree species. In the longer-term, this shift has consequences for understory moss growth and SOL re-accumulation, thereby directly influencing permafrost recovery post-fire.

We hope you will join us on June 29th for this thought-provoking webinar. To register, please click here. If you are not able to make it, all of the webinars are posted to the SERDP & ESTCP website so that you can enjoy them at any time.