Planning and Collection of Data on Boreal Wildfire Effects: Studies of broad-scale 2014 Wildfires in NWT, Canada

Regions: Dehcho Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, soil chemistry, peatlands, fire ecology

Principal Investigator: Bourgeau-Chavez, Laura L (3)
Licence Number: 15805
Organization: Michigan Tech Research Institute
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015
Issued: Dec 18, 2015
Project Team: Laura Bourgeau-Chavez (PI, MTU), Evan Kane (Co-I, MTU), Nancy French (Co-I, MTU)

Objective(s): To identify and collect remote sensing and field data to support the science necessary to investigate the impacts and consequences of the 2014 fires in Northwest Territories, Canada.

Project Description: The goal of this project is to identify and collect remote sensing and field data to support the science necessary to investigate the impacts and consequences of the 2014 fires in Northwest Territories, Canada and to better understand the vulnerability of the Carbon-rich boreal peatlands to burning.

Field crews will navigate to pre-selected sample locations and collect at each location: 1)site descriptions (peatland type, tree cover etc.); 2) vegetation cover (species composition, percent cover of different species, etc.); 3) organic layer depth (depth of organic based material above mineral soil, found with probe or small soil pit); 4) burn severity (visually estimated); 5) soil temperature; 6) Active layer depth (depth of free soil above permafrost, found using manual probe); 7) near surface soil moisture (found using handheld hydrosense probe); and, 8) photographs and GPS location.

All materials will be removed, as there are no permanent plots being established, and no long term instrumentation or infrastructure being left at any location.

Field teams will collect information and baseline data to understand the effects of widespread burn in the Canadian Shield and Taiga Plains. Working in concert with the NWT Government and other local research groups, large scale, multidisciplinary data collection will create an extensive database for future research and management.

The staff of Michigan Tech Research Institute have been attending workshops and working with local government and research groups to organize collaborative summer data collection to create a comprehensive understanding of these burned areas. Workshop partners include: The Government of the Northwest Territories, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Changing Cold Regions Network.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 22, 2016 to September 9, 2016.