Identifying Areas of Forest Productivity

Science Findings

Marie Oliver

USDA: Department of Agriculture

December 2015


“New Research reveals how topography, soil temperature and subtle shifts in soil drainage are key drivers in ecosystem function in the coastal temperate rain forests of southeast Alaska and British Columbia.  These studies, by Dave D’Amore and his colleagues, provide a better understanding of the influence of soil hydrology on dissolved organic carbon export and the interplay between soil saturation and tress species’ response to varying soli conditions.  More refined techniques for identifying hyridc soils are making wetland delineation in southeast Alsaska quicker, easier, and more accurate.

Identifying wetlands has been particular tricky in these areas because southeast Alaska is relatively moist year round.  This means that wetland delineation is based on more subtle  indicators.

One study provides new information about how soil color can be used as an indicator of soil saturation and reduced oxidation, thugs streamlining and increasing the accuracy of wetland identification.  Scientists also have developed models that, based on long term position of the water table and soil drainage, project the types of vegetation that will occur in specific landscapes.   This information is proving useful for climate change adaptation planning.  Other studies explore the influence of soil hydrologies explore the influence of soil hydrology on the release of dissolved organic carbon into the Gulf of Alaska.”





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