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Project ID: 13-3-01-22

Year: 2013

Date Started: 07/01/2013

Date Completed: 10/23/2015

Title: Impacts of Changing Fire Regimes in the Alpine Treeline Ecotone

Project Proposal Abstract: Across the western U.S., climate change presents perhaps the biggest challenge to both the idea and the conservation of protected areas, particularly in the context of dynamic and rapidly changing disturbance regimes. This project addresses the JFSP topic of climate change and fire, by examining the effects of a shift in the fire regime of an ecosystem that is very sensitive to climate change: the ecotone from closed forest to open alpine tundra, hereafter the alpine treeline ecotone (ATE). Our focus on the subalpine zone highlights a key resource for both ecosystem services and the aesthetic needs of a growing population in a world with diminishing and fragmented protected areas. This research project addresses our current lack of knowledge about the extent to which recent increases in area burned have impacted the ATE, and how fire changes the location, pattern, and species diversity in the ATE. Because the combined effects of fire occurrence in the ATE, and post-fire pattern and species shifts may have long-term impacts on ecosystem functions such as wildlife habitat use, hydrology, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration, research on the drivers and the effects of fire in the ATE is needed.

Principal Investigator: Donald Z. McKenzie

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Vi T. Ta

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Budget Contact

Rebecca A. Slick

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Student Investigator

Courtney A. Cansler

University of Washington

School of Forest Resources

Project Locations


Northern Rockies







Pacific Coast States


Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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