New report provides conservation and management strategies for climate-sensitive yellow-cedar in Alaska

The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station Wednesday released a new report that outlines a climate adaptation strategy for yellow-cedar in Alaska.

The report, “A Climate Adaptation Strategy for Conservation and Management of Yellow-Cedar in Alaska,” is the first to provide a comprehensive science-based approach for managing the species in the face of climate change in the state of Alaska, where some populations of the tree have been declining over the past century. The report was produced in collaboration with land managers and specialists with the Forest Service’s Alaska Region and State and Private Forestry forest health professionals and will be an important reference for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review as it considers a petition to list yellow-cedar under the Endangered Species Act.

“Our report assesses the past, current, and expected future condition of yellow-cedar forests across all land ownerships where yellow-cedar grows in Alaska,” said Paul Hennon, a research forest pathologist based at the station’s Juneau Lab and the lead author of the report. “The report reveals specific areas of yellow-cedar forest that are affected by tree death, those that are currently healthy but are at high risk of mortality, and those that are expected to remain healthy in the future.”

Considerations for active management or monitoring are offered for each of these three outcomes.

Yellow-cedar is a culturally, economically, and ecologically valuable species that grows as far north as Prince William Sound in Alaska to as far south as the northern tip of California. Some yellow-cedar populations in Alaska and British Columbia have experienced mortality over the past 100 years linked to a warming climate, Hennon and his colleagues discovered in previous work. Loss of snow cover exposes yellow-cedar’s roots to freezing, which can kill the tree.

The new technical report is divided into four sections that provide an exhaustive review of nearly every aspect of yellow-cedar in Alaska, including a review of the silvics, ecology, and genetics of yellow-cedar, a summary of the cause of forest decline and the role of climate, considerations for conservation and management of yellow-cedar on suitable and unsuitable habitats, and new models that predict the health status of yellow-cedar forests now and in the future.

“Land managers can use our report to develop active management approaches, such as salvage harvesting of dead cedar or augmenting other tree species, in decline-affected forests, and to enhance yellow-cedar in suitable areas by planting seedlings and favoring yellow-cedar during thinnings,” Hennon said. “Our report also can serve as a scientific foundation for developing adaptation strategies in other forests affected by climate change.”

Hennon and his colleagues are now working with a team of U.S. and Canadian scientists to conduct a vulnerability assessment of yellow-cedar across its entire range, from Alaska to California.

The technical report is available online at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/50115. Printed copies will be available beginning March 1. To request a printed copy, email pnw_pnwpubs@fs.fed.us or call (503) 261-1211 and reference “PNW-GTR-917.”

The Pacific Northwest Research Station—headquartered in Portland, Oregon, generates and communicates scientific knowledge that helps people make informed choices about natural resources and the environment. The station has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon and about 300 employees. Learn more online at http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw.

More in Neighbors

Visitors look at an art exhibit by Eric and Pam Bealer at Alaska Robotics that is on display until Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Conservation Society)
Neighbors briefs

Art show fundraiser features works from Alaska Folk Festival The Sitka Conservation… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski meets with Thunder Mountain High School senior Elizabeth Djajalie in March in Washington, D.C., when Djajalie was one of two Alaskans chosen as delegates for the Senate Youth Program. (Photo courtesy U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office)
Neighbors: Juneau student among four National Honor Society Scholarship Award winners

TMHS senior Elizabeth Djajalie selected from among nearly 17,000 applicants.

(Photo by Gina Delrosario)
Living and Growing: Divine Mercy Sunday

Part one of a two-part series

A handmade ornament from a previous U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree)
Neighbors briefs

Ornaments sought for 2024 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree The Alaska Region of… Continue reading

(Photo courtesy of The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Neighbors: Tunic returned to the Dakhl’aweidí clan

After more than 50 years, the Wooch dakádin kéet koodás’ (Killerwhales Facing… Continue reading

The 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest winning painting of an American Wigeon titled “Perusing in the Pond” by Jade Hicks, a student at Thunder Mountain High School. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
THMS student Jade Hicks wins 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest

Jade Hicks, 18, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, took top… Continue reading

(City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Neighbors Briefs

Registration for Parks & Rec summer camps opens April 1 The City… Continue reading

Easter eggs in their celebratory stage, before figuring out what to do once people have eaten their fill. (Photo by Depositphotos via AP)
Gimme A Smile: Easter Eggs — what to do with them now?

From Little League practice to practicing being POTUS, there’s many ways to get cracking.

A fruit salad that can be adjusted to fit the foods of the season. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: A Glorious Fruit Salad for a Company Dinner

Most people don’t think of a fruit salad as a dessert. This… Continue reading

Pictured from left to right are Shannon Easterly, Sam Cheng, Alex Mallott, Edward Hu, Leif St. Clair, Peyton Edmunds and Shelby Nesheim. The five students in the middle are the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé team that won the Tsunami Bowl in Seward on March 22-24. (Photo courtesy of National Ocean Sciences Bowl)
Neighbors: Team of five JDHS students wins Tsunami Bowl

Five students from Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé won the Tsunami Bowl,… Continue reading