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Keywords:

  • Yukon River Basin;
  • Alaska;
  • climate change

[1] Yukon River Basin Principal Investigators Workshop; Portland, Oregon, 18–20 January 2011; High latitudes are known to be particularly susceptible to climate warming, leading to an emphasis of field and modeling research on arctic regions. Subarctic and boreal regions such as the Yukon River Basin (YRB) of interior Alaska and western Canada are less well studied, although they encompass large areas that are vulnerable to changes in forest composition, permafrost distribution, and hydrology. There is an urgent need to understand the resiliency and vulnerability of these complex ecosystems as well as their feedbacks to the global climate system. Consequently, U.S. Geological Survey scientists, with other federal agency, university, and private industry partners, is focusing subarctic interdisciplinary studies on the Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River watershed (http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/content/ak/en/prog/nlcs/beavercrk_nwsr.html) and Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge (http://yukonflats.fws.gov/ ) in the YRB, south and west of Fort Yukon, Alaska. These areas are national treasures of wetlands, lakes, and uplands that support large populations of wildlife and waterfowl and are home to vibrant native Alaskan communities that depend on the area for a subsistence lifestyle.