In Stuenzi et al. (2021) we find that the forests exert a strong control on the thermal state of permafrost through changing the radiation balance and snow cover phenology. In a further step, we are investigating how changes in forest cover impact the feedback processes in permafrost underlain boreal forests across a wide transect in eastern Siberia. We there-by deliver important insights into the range of possible changes to the permafrost condition that can be expected following landscape changes such as deforestation through fires or land use changes, afforestation in currently unforested grasslands or the climate-induced densification of forested areas. We find that varying density and tree composition have a significant effect on the thermal and hydrological state of permafrost and therefore, play an important role in the fate of this ecosystem, the forests function as a carbon sink and permafrost persistence, which may induce feedback mechanisms such as swamping, droughts, fires or forest loss.
For further reference see our open-access publication in Biogeosciences:
Stuenzi, S. M., Boike, J., Cable, W., Herzschuh, U., Kruse, S., Pestryakova, L. A., Schneider von Deimling, T., Westermann, S., Zakharov, E. S., and Langer, M.: Variability of the surface energy balance in permafrost-underlain boreal forest, Biogeosciences, 18, 343–365, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-18-343-2021, 2021