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The morphology of experimentally produced charcoal distinguishes fuel types in the Arctic tundra

Pereboom, E. B. M., Vachula, R. S., Huang, Y. and Russell, J. (2020) The morphology of experimentally produced charcoal distinguishes fuel types in the Arctic tundra. The Holocene, 30 (7). pp. 1091-1096. ISSN 1477-0911

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0959683620908629


Wildfires in the Arctic tundra have become increasingly frequent in recent years and have important implications for tundra ecosystems and for the global carbon cycle. Lake sediment–based records are the primary means of understanding the climatic influences on tundra fires. Sedimentary charcoal has been used to infer climate-driven changes in tundra fire frequency but thus far cannot differentiate characteristics of the vegetation burnt during fire events. In forested ecosystems, charcoal morphologies have been used to distinguish changes in fuel type consumed by wildfires of the past; however, no such approach has been developed for tundra ecosystems. We show experimentally that charcoal morphologies can be used to differentiate graminoid (mean = 6.77; standard deviation (SD) = 0.23) and shrub (mean = 2.42; SD = 1.86) biomass burnt in tundra fire records. This study is a first step needed to construct more nuanced tundra wildfire histories and to understand how wildfire will impact the region as vegetation and fire change in the future.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:90345

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