Next Article in Journal
Impact of Water Holding Capacity and Moisture Content of Soil Substrates on the Moisture Content of Wood in Terrestrial Microcosms
Previous Article in Journal
Chemical Composition and Thermal Behavior of Kraft Lignins
Open AccessArticle

Perspectives on Sustainable Forest Management in Interior Alaska Boreal Forest: Recent History and Challenges

School of Natural Resources and Extension, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(6), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060484
Received: 22 April 2019 / Revised: 21 May 2019 / Accepted: 29 May 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
Research Highlights: Interior Alaska boreal forest is still largely intact and forest harvest management, if applied appropriately across the forest landscape, can potentially mitigate the effects of climate warming, such as increasing wildfire and decreasing mature tree growth. Background and Objectives: This study examines historical relationships between forest growth and harvest in central boreal Alaska over the last 40 years in order to contribute to the development of sustainable forest harvesting practices. Materials and Methods: We compiled data from forest inventory and forest harvest and reforestation databases and analyzed harvesting intensity relative to growth. Results: Forest harvest management has relied heavily on natural regeneration due to a small profit margin. We found that volume harvested in the last 40 years was lower than volume growth; however, harvest activity was concentrated on the small road-accessible area and in the mature white spruce type. As a result, harvest activities need to be distributed geographically and by species in a way that prevents reduction of forest productivity or loss of ecosystem services. An expansion of the road network, or a shift in harvesting and utilization from white spruce to broadleaf would allow a significant increase in sustainable wood yield. Conclusions: There are two potential areas that could provide increased harvest, which contain a large amount of white spruce, birch, and aspen. Under rapid climate change, sustainable forest harvest management must consider the effects of fires, such as needs of salvage logging and a potential reduction of harvestable timber volumes due to damages. Forest harvest management could emulate natural fire disturbance and help reduce fuel amounts to prevent intensive and large-scale fires in the future in areas where fires are most aggressively suppressed. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable forest management; low-input management; forest harvest and regeneration management; access; Alaska boreal forest; forest inventory; wildfire; climate change sustainable forest management; low-input management; forest harvest and regeneration management; access; Alaska boreal forest; forest inventory; wildfire; climate change
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Morimoto, M.; Juday, G. Perspectives on Sustainable Forest Management in Interior Alaska Boreal Forest: Recent History and Challenges. Forests 2019, 10, 484.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop