New study shows surprising effects of fire in North America’s boreal forests

photo by Brendan Rogers.

New study shows surprising effects of fire in North America’s boreal forests

A new study, using a first-of-its-kind approach to analyze satellite imagery from boreal forests over the last three decades, has found that fire may be changing the face of the region in a way researchers did not previously anticipate.

Historically, fires in North American boreal forests have led to coniferous trees being supplanted by deciduous trees, which are faster growing, take up more carbon and reflect more light, leading to cooling of the climate and decreased likelihood of fire.

The study, led by Northern Arizona University and published today in Nature Climate Change, found that surprisingly, while forests do become more deciduous, they don’t stay that way; a few decades later, the same forests gradually start to shift back toward coniferous trees.

Read more onĀ Phys.org.

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