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An ecological assessment of southern Alaska through observations of floristic change, fire regime and volcanism.

Defining patterns of environmental or ecological change on different spatio-temporal scales is key to tracking and addressing present and future biodiversity changes, which is particularly important considering the rapidly changing climate scenarios. Climate change in the arctic means shrinking glaciers, drying out of peatland and carbon release, more frequent forest and peatland fires, and thawing permafrost. Alaska hosts some of the largest Boreal peatlands and forests; however, little is known about the fine-scale dynamics of these ecosystems particularly over the last millennia, which is key to making effective management decisions into the uncertain future. In this presentation, I will be presenting the results so far from an ongoing work that employs different lines of evidence (pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, charcoal, and tephra) from two peatland sites in southern Alaska to reveal interactions between vegetation, fire and climate in the area during the last millennia, as well as the potential influence of humans and volcanic eruptions on these interactions.


Sophie Carter McSherry1, Dr Lauren Jade Davies1, Dr Matthew Adesanya Adeleye1
1University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
GeoBerlin 2023