Fire, Climate & Ecology in the Forests of Mongolia
Eastern Kentucky University
Project Overview: Increased wildfires are predicted to accompany ongoing climate change. Yet, little evidence exists supporting this hypothesis. This project will examine relationships between wildfire and climate over the past four+ centuries, from the steppes of the Gobi to the taiga forests of northern Mongolia. Mongolia’s landscape, land-use history and recent history of rapid climate change make it an ideal test case for an examination of the relationship between wildfire and climate. Wildfire occurrence and severity will be reconstructed using tree ages and fire scars as recorded by tree rings. The main objectives are to: 1) test hypotheses about climate impacts on wildfires by developing a network of fire histories across Mongolia; 2) determine whether recent climate change has caused unprecedented changes in the number or severity of wildfires, and 3) potentially identify what climatic combinations could cause forest properties to change significantly from what they had been historically.
Broader Impacts: The research will benefit institutions in the U.S. and Mongolia. Funding will support two PhD students for study in the U.S., including a student from Mongolia, an additional MS student, and several undergraduate students from both the U.S. and Mongolia in field and laboratory research. Research elements will be incorporated into university curricula and continuing education materials in the Mongolia and U.S. We will interpret and transfer our methods and research findings to decision makers, landowners, managers, and conservation organizations working in Mongolian forests and related ecosystems in Asia.
West Virginia University
Rocky Mountain Tree Ring Research
National University of Mongolia
|Updated: Sep '08|