Yellow-cedar Decline Research (US Forest Service R&D PNW Research Station)
Yellow-cedar is a culturally and economically valuable tree that has been dying on more than a half-million acres for the past 100 years in southeast Alaska and nearby British Columbia. The goal of our research is to provide an understanding of the cause of yellow-cedar decline and to help develop a conservation and management strategy to ensure the long-term health of this valuable tree in Alaska’s forest ecosystems.
To meet these challenges, we have assembled a team of partners representing many disciplines from the Pacific Northwest Research Station, State and Private Forestry, The Nature Conservancy, Tongass National Forest, Northern Research Station, University of Vermont, University of Alaska, State University of New York, and the Forest Products Laboratory.
Climate and the cause of yellow-cedar decline
Yellow-cedar decline is now viewed as one of the best documented examples of the effect of climate change on a forest tree species. Our reconstruction of cedar epidemiology established the onset of decline in about 1880, a date that coincided with the end of the Little Ice Age. After evaluating a number of abiotic and biotic risk factors associated with yellow-cedar decline, we formed a working hypothesis around the one vulnerability of yellow-cedar—spring freezing injury. The cascading complex of factors that leads to fine root freezing injury in this scenario has become the framework for our research, with individual studies directed at testing each interaction of factors.
For the complete article and pictures see the US Forest Service link below: