Yukon River Lowlands, Kuskokwim Mountains, and Lime Hills Rapid Ecoregional Assessment Report — Now Available

REAThe 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.

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Alaska Fire Consortium: 2 Upcoming Events

With Mike Wotton of the Canadian Fire Service & University of Toronto

Fri, August 15; 10am:
Ongoing activities in the development of a next generation of the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System

Tue, August 19; 10am-12pm:
Wildland Fire in Canada: Research Questions and Applications for Alaska
An informal discussion opportunity with Mike Wotton

More information


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Porcupine Caribou Herd Could Be Threatened By More Wildfires

Photo by D. Gustine, USGS

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.

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NASA in Alaska 2014: G-LiHT “Connecting the Dots”

NASA in Alaska 2014: G-LiHT | Connecting the DotsThe 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

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Alaska Arctic Marine Fish Ecology Catalog: Beaufort & Chukchi Seas

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

Continue reading

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Eye On The Taiga: removing global policy impediments to safeguard the boreal forest

main-forest-for-the-treesA recent article by Moen et al. (2014) published in Conservation Letters urges policy makers to remove barriers for managing boreal forests for carbon storage.  “The absence of boreal forests from global policy agendas on sustainable development and climate change mitigation represents a massive missed opportunity
for environmental protection. The boreal zone contains some of the
world’s largest pools of terrestrial carbon that, if not safeguarded from a conversion
to a net source of greenhouse gases, could seriously exacerbate global
climate change. At the same time, boreal countries have a strong tradition
of forest management—expertise that could be effectively leveraged toward
global and national carbon mitigation targets and sustainable development. Current obstacles against such contributions include weak incentives for carbon
sequestration and a reluctance to embrace change by forest managers and
policy makers.” Find the article online here.

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Researchers Call for Citizen Scientists to Help Record Plant Migration

University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor Christa Mulder is starting an exciting new citizen-science project on climate change and plant phenology called BrownDown. Her team is looking for participants in Alaska and Canada.

Project BrownDown is a citizen scientist project that will encourage participation from the public while helping researchers look at climate change in the North.  According to University of Alaska Fairbanks spring arrives earlier each year, summers are warmer and fall arrives later.  This has an affect on plant life; with seasons not changing on time, plants flower, fruit and die at altered times. poplar1

 Participants will learn about plant phenology and how it can be affected by climate change. They will practice all of the monitoring procedures, such as how to select a field site, identify plants and enter and upload data. Participants will upload their data to the website Hands on the Land where they can compare what their plants are doing to what plants at other locations in northern regions are doing. Data will also be shared with Canada’s PlantWatch Program. Read more and listen to a an interview on KDLG radio here.

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Call for Proposals – Yukon River Panel’s Research and Enhancement Fund

The Yukon River Panel is established by treaty between Canada and the United States for YRPconservation, management and harvest sharing of Canadian-origin Yukon River Salmon. The Yukon River Panel is pleased to announce that its Restoration and Enhancement (R&E) Fund Call for Project Concepts for projects starting in 2015 was issued on June 30th 2014.

Details and Project Concept Forms can be found on the Yukon River Panel website under News and Announcements – Restoration and Enhancement Fund News. Project Concept forms must be submitted in electronic format by midnight Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 to yukonfund@psc.org. Questions or points of clarification can be directed to the Fund Manager, Angus Mackay or the Fund Assistant, Victor Keong at (604) 684-8081 or fax (604) 666-8707. You may also email Mackay@psc.org or Keong@psc.org

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NOW AVAILABLE: Anthropogenic Disturbace Compilation and Mapping of the Northwest Boreal

ANTHROPOGENIC DISTURBANCE DATABASE COMPILATION AND MAPPING IN THE CANADIAN PORTION OF THE NORTHWEST BOREAL LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION COOPERATIVE DCUFor those involved in land management decisions, knowledge of the existing anthropogenic footprint is an important tool. Ducks Unlimited Canada compiled publicly available spatial datasets documenting the anthropogenic footprint within the Canadian boundaries of the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative to facilitate future landscape analysis and inform land use decisions. Data sources included government websites and professional contacts. Geodatabases were created to house the data. The geodatabases are organized by jurisdiction and theme of anthropogenic disturbance (e.g. forestry, mining). We describe limitations of the datasets; difficulties encountered during compilation of the data; and identify lessons learned during the compilation process.

View full report here!

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USGS Publication Examines Before-and-After Impacts of a Natural Fire in the Boreal Forest

Multi-trophic resilience of boreal lake ecosystems to forest firesUSGS Research Wildlife Biologist Joel Schmutz is co-author of a recently published study in the journal Ecology on the status of nutrients, invertebrates, and migratory birds in a boreal forest wetland complex before-and-after a natural fire swept through the area in 2010. Results of the study, led by PhD student Tyler Lewis at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, provided evidence that nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and also levels of chlorophyll were unaffected by the fire. Three groups of invertebrates did not respond to the fire, while two groups increased. Abundance of waterbird young, which feed primarily on aquatic invertebrates, was also not affected by the fire. The resilience of the lake ecosystem in the study to the forest fire is a significant result for ecologically similar boreal regions, especially given the high potential for increased fires with future climate change.

The paper can be viewed as an on-line early preprint at: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/13-1170.1

Contact: John Pearce

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