From Alaska Dispatch News — October 18, 2014
NASA and the U.S. Forest Service have partnered to survey the Tanana Valley State Forest of Interior Alaska.
The airborne investigation looks at fire-burned areas in the forest to enable scientists to see patterns of fire recovery and develop a benchmark for future changes to the region.
Tuesday October 7, 2014 at 10:00 am AK/ 11:00 am PT
The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP) is hosting a webinar by Dr. Philip Loring, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan.
Food security is a world-wide societal challenge, and one area of the world where food insecurity is increasing is the North American Arctic and Subarctic. In this presentation Dr. Loring reviews research on food security in general and as it has been executed in the North over the last 15 years. He reviews a comprehensive set of findings regarding why people are food insecure: challenges like remoteness and climate change play a role, but the primary drivers of food insecurity for northern peoples continue to be governance and policy issues, issues that have been recognized and critiqued for many decades. In light of new challenges to the rights of indigenous peoples in the North such as climate change and development, Loring offers suggestions for future research and policy that focuses on place-based and rights-based approaches to planning and development.
Webinar presented by: Dr. Erik Beever, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, USGS.
September 25, 2014, 2:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time
Description: Integration of conservation efforts across geographic, biological, and administrative boundaries is a major movement in natural-resource management. This style of management and problem-solving is increasingly relevant, because drivers of change such as climate shifts, fire, and invasive species increasingly transcend these multidimensional boundaries and pervade conservation efforts on individual sites. Although the benefits of broad-scale conservation are compelling, it represents a complex challenge, owing to uncertainties in scaling up information and concepts as well as in coordination that addresses a more-diverse set of issues, governance structures, and partners. I and other researchers sought to explore the particular successes and challenges of established broad-scale conservation programs, to provide direction for future research towards a larger goal of enhancing effectiveness of broad-scale conservation (e.g., the LCC system). Using 17 questions, we gathered information from representatives of a diverse set of 11 broad-scale conservation partnerships spanning 29 countries on three continents. Despite demonstrated successes of these organizations, we revealed specific challenges that can hinder long-term success of broad-scale conservation. Engaging stakeholders, developing conservation measures, and implementing adaptive management were dominant challenges. Although these challenges have been identified previously in isolation, we used our results to develop integrative research questions addressing each of these challenges to inform and support effectiveness of existing and emerging broad-scale conservation efforts. I will share a list of challenges and a list of benefits reported by those engaged in broad-scale management and conservation around the world, as well as results regarding individual parts of the conservation process.
To register, click here.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 – 3:30pm EDT
Anthony D’Amato, University of Minnesota
Associate Professor, Forest Resources
Climate change and associated stressors are expected to greatly impact the ability of forest managers to sustainably manage and conserve forest habitats across the northeastern United States. As a result, adaptation strategies are being developed and applied in many regions to minimize climate change impacts and sustain key forest functions under uncertain future environmental conditions. Given that many of these strategies deviate from traditional approaches to forest management, there is a great need for field evaluations of adaptation in practice to inform long-term planning efforts to address climate change impacts. Similarly, the long timeframes over which forests develop and management actions operate has increased the importance of decision support tools, such as forest and landscape-simulation models, to evaluate forest conservation practices under future climate change scenarios. This webinar will highlight the importance of field-based studies for assessing the effectiveness of adaptation strategies at addressing climate change and invasive species impacts and will provide an example of how landscape simulation models are being applied to identify forest conservation priorities for highly vulnerable, spruce-fir ecosystems in the northeastern United States. Read more and find the webinar link here.
The Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN) is a new collaborative research network bringing together the unique expertise of a team of over 50 university and government scientists, including 36 Canadian scientists representing 4 government agencies and 8 universities, as well as 15 international scientists. The network is funded for 5 years through the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research (CCAR) Initiative of NSERC. CCRN’s objectives are to integrate existing and new sources of data with improved predictive and observational tools to understand, diagnose and predict interactions amongst the cryospheric, ecological, hydrological, and climatic components of the changing Earth system at multiple scales, with a geographic focus on Western Canada’s rapidly changing cold interior.
Focused field research activities under CCRN take place at a suite of key Water, Ecosystem, Cryosphere and Climate (WECC) Observatories, which are distributed across western and northern Canada. Many sites are within the Northwest Boreal LCC.
Coastal temperate rainforests along the Gulf of Alaska are experiencing high rates of glacier loss. Understanding the climate-induced vulnerability of land-to-ocean movement of freshwater due to glacier melting is critical since the variability in glacier runoff is much larger than that for other components of the water cycle. This project will develop methods to quantify runoff from watersheds along the Gulf of Alaska, allowing an assessment of impacts on coastal ecosystems. This study will also assess available data, develop an interdisciplinary conceptual model, and disseminate findings to both scientific peers and the public, paving the way forward to a better understanding of one of the least understood regional water cycles on Earth. New information from this study will provide a framework for assessing the future evolution of glacier discharge into the Gulf of Alaska, reducing uncertainty in determining the response of coastal ecosystems to a changing climate. Project Overview: http://www.doi.gov/csc/alaska/upload/AK-CSC-Rainforest-Sensitivity-to-Glacier-Change.pdf
The final Yukon River Lowlands, Kuskokwim Mountains, and Lime Hills Rapid Ecoregional Assessment Report is on the University of Alaska Anchorage AKNHP website under Task 9 Products: http://aknhp.uaa.alaska.edu/landscape-ecology/ykl-rea/products/#content
The report consists of two main sections:
1) Summary – This is a concise 30-page document highlighting key results and take home messages.
2) Technical Supplement – This is a comprehensive document describing all products and maps. This supplement is split into 5 subsections: A. Introduction, B. Change Agents, C. Landscape and Ecological Integrity, D. Conservation Elements, and E. Data Gaps and Omissions.
Photo by D. Gustine, USGS
USGS and University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers explore the impacts of wildfire on Porcupine Caribou Herd habitat and range shifts. Dave Gustine with USGS and lead author on the study reports a 21% reduction of winter habitat by the end of this century across Alaska and Yukon, with the most severe effects in Yukon. Read the summary written by Kristin Timm at UAF that includes links to the full article.
The Alaska G-LiHT Campaign is a partnership between scientists and NASA and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The design for the research is to link field measurements of forest structure, vegetation composition, and soils with airborne remote sensing data from G-LiHT. At this stage of the mission, the flight planning looks a little like a technicolor version of Pac-Man. Pink lines on the flight GPS units intersect points showing the location of ground measurements. In flight, the goal is to gobble as many of these dots as possible. Sometimes you wonder if the familiar “wocka wocka” noise of the old video game can be heard above the noise of the engine.
Read more here
The following is an abstract and highlights for a new publication on an Arctic fish catalog. It is about 1000 pages in 8 chapters. It will be available in pdf and hard copy sometime during the winter of 2014/2015.
For more information, contact : Thorsteinson, Lyman