Solving complex conservation challenges at scale requires building and sustaining relationships over long periods of time. Strategies to evaluate the impact of large-scale conservation interventions across space and time, while critical, are nascent and fragmented. This research reports on a three-year research project with a large-scale collaborative conservation effort in the Northwest Boreal region of Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory. Social network analysis is used to track changes in the network topology and the results of this research point toward a multi-dimensional set of social network analysis metrics for evaluating collaborative conservation.
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The ANFC is holding its annual meeting in conjunction with the Alaska Society of American Foresters meeting this April 12-14, 2018 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Online registration and the draft agenda are now available. The deadline to take advantage of the lower early registration rate is March 16.
The meeting theme is focused on developing carbon markets for forested lands in Alaska.
The connectivity analysis explores using “enduring features” to understand potential connectivity in the future.
NWB LCC collaborators have published an article about connectivity modelling across Alaska, focused on the BLM’s Central Yukon Planning area. The article, Using topographic geodiversity to connect conservation lands in the Central Yukon, Alaska, is published in the journal Landscape Ecology. The analysis models climate-resilient landscape linkages between conservation lands within and adjacent to a 59-million-acre planning area. The authors found that using as little as 1% of the planning area linkages can connect over 64 million acres of conservation land.
“Once connectivity is lost, it is politically and financially difficult to restore (Forman 1995). Alaska has > 120 million acres of land in the federal conservation estate. Proactively linking these conservation units will allow for wildlife movement even as the region develops and land use changes (Beier et al. 2008).
We used geodiversity to design structural connectivity between approximately 55 million acres of National Park Service (NPS) and National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) lands in Northern Alaska. We use the term landscape linkage to describe structural corridors between the conservation units. The term linkage has been defined as specific lands that maintain the ability of multiple species to move between wildland blocks (Beier et al. 2008).”
Webinar:Title: Documenting Local Knowledge of Changing Wildlife Habitats and Adaptive Considerations of Large Land Mammal Hunters to the Effects of Climate Change in Alaska Game Management Units 9B-C, 17, 18, and 19A-C
Presenter: James Van Lanen, Subsistence Resource Specialist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Participatory landscape mapping is an effective method for documenting geospatially specific local ecological knowledge of changing wildlife habitats and environmental conditions. This presentation will highlight results from a recent Western Alaska LCC-funded project focused on mapping local knowledge of caribou behavior dynamics in relation to ecological change in Alaska Game Management Units 9B-C, 17, 18, and 19A-C, over the course of five decades. The primary adaptive considerations of subsistence large land mammal hunters facing changing environmental conditions are access and prey-switching. Human-large-land-mammal-subsistence-system resilience depends on hunters being flexible in regards to access methods and targeted prey species and on resource managers flexibly adapting legal hunting seasons to times when local travel conditions are optimal.
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The study documents salmon spawning streams all along the Yukon River drainage.
A new study by Alaska and Canada-based researchers catalogs and maps the known spawning areas of Yukon River Chinook Salmon. The researchers use published articles, gray literature, and information archived in agency databases. The authors write that most of the sources are from the past three decades, but some reference observations that were recorded as long ago as the late 1800s.
“Despite the long history of Chinook Salmon research and management within the Yukon River basin (Pennoyer et al. 1965; Evenson et al. 2009; JTC 2016), there is no comprehensive account of spawning areas in tributary rivers and main-stem reaches. Our primary objective in this study was therefore to document and map Chinook Salmon spawning areas throughout the Yukon River basin by using a wide range of data sources. Our secondary objective was to highlight the largest populations by classifying spawning areas as either major or minor producers based on three indicators of abundance…”
ShoreZone is a coastal imaging and habitat mapping system that has been applied to most of Alaska’s coast as well as those of British Columbia, Washington State and Oregon. This dataset is publicly available. Learn how the imagery and mapping is completed, see a live demonstration of how to access the data online and view examples of numerous and varied ways the data has been utilized. Uses include: oil spill planning and response, risk management, species and habitat modelling, marine debris mapping, cultural features mapping, research study design and outreach and education. ShoreZone imagery is also being used create digital elevation models and change detection using Structure from Motion technology.
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Frank Doyle releases a Snowy Owl. Photo by Alistair Blachford.
A new study describes the movements of breeding snowy owls across Northwest Canada and Alaska over the course of their seasonal movements.
From authors Frank Doyle, Jean-François Therrien, Donald Reid, Gilles Gauthier and Charles Krebs:
“The authors were intrigued to discover that these owls spent winter in the north, not on the tundra, but in the mountainous regions of the boreal forest zone of Alaska and northern Yukon. This is the first telemetry study of Snowy Owls showing that they can winter in boreal forest latitudes. They chose particularly open, unforested habitats, such as subalpine taiga shrub lands and extensive wetlands, with lots of openings. Over most of the boreal forest biome these relatively open habitats are uncommon, so the mountains themselves are probably key to this result.
In winter, relatively few people live in these mountainous boreal regions, which included Denali National Park and the Yukon River Flats. Although the authors were not able to visit the wintering areas when the birds were there, they did get information from biologists and other people working in these regions, and suspect that these Snowy Owls were moving in search of high abundance of snowshoe hares and ptarmigan. There is still much to be learned about how the Owls get through this season.”
The research, “Seasonal Movements of Female Snowy Owls Breeding in the Western North American Arctic,” is published this month in the Journal of Raptor Research.
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The Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society will host the 2018 Western Division AFS annual meeting, 21-25 May 2018, at the Egan Center in Anchorage, AK. The theme of this year’s meeting is Change, Challenge, and Opportunity in Fisheries: Fishing for Solutions.
The meeting planning committee is in the process of putting together a vibrant program to highlight topics in fisheries conservation and management across Western North America! For more information or to volunteer to help with the meeting please visit the official meeting website (below).
Consider being part of this unique experience by submitting an abstract for a symposium, workshop, contributed paper, or poster.
Symposia and workshop proposals are due January 5, 2018. Contributed paper and poster submission will open January 21, 2018 and abstracts are due by March 5, 2018.. Meeting registration will be live February 21, 2018
All meeting information, including lodging, registration, and instructions for symposia, workshops, poster, and contributed paper abstracts can be found at: http://wdmtg.fisheries.org/
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With the official launch of the Interior Alaska FIA in 2016, the Anchorage Forestry Sciences lab in cooperation with the State of Alaska Division of Forestry have taken on the largest (110 million acres) and most remote forest inventory in the country.
Webinar: U.S. Forest Service Interior Alaska Forest Inventory and Analysis Program
The Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program acts as the Nation’s forest census by inventorying all potentially forested lands in all 50 states and the Pacific Islands. Until 2014, the 15% of the nation’s forests in Interior Alaska were uninventoried. With the official launch of the Interior Alaska FIA in 2016, the Anchorage Forestry Sciences lab in cooperation with the State of Alaska Division of Forestry have taken on the largest (110 million acres) and most remote forest inventory in the country. FIA collects data on forest composition and condition, tree size and age, insects and diseases, vegetation structure and composition, invasives, down woody materials and has added specific protocols for lichens/mosses and soils to better represent Interior boreal forest components. This dataset will be essential to assessing Interior Alaska forest change over time and answering critical scientific and management questions.
Presenter: Kate Legner, Supervisory Biological Scientist, Interior Alaska Unit – Forest Service – Forest Inventory & Analysis
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