NWB LCC 2015 Projects

Northwest Boreal Monitoring System Aims to Take the Pulse of Northern Forests

Partners within the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative are taking early steps to develop a coordinated Northwest Boreal Monitoring System. Because the change drivers of the next century like climate change do not respect traditional political or management boundaries, a resilient landscape requires awareness of broad disturbances, such as invasive species, wildland fire regimes, and permafrost melting. The proposed Northwest Boreal Monitoring System enables the creation of landscape-wide data to detect the impacts of climate change and human disturbances. Knowing the pulse of the landscape will help communities and natural resources managers to anticipate changes in land cover, watersheds, and species distribution. The process aims to build on shared needs and complement existing data practices.

Expert stakeholders will meet in a technical workshop in Anchorage, Alaska February 24 and 25, 2016 to survey existing monitoring plans and imagine future collaboration. Workshop participants will draft the plan for an integrating monitoring system that delivers timely, accurate data while taking advantage of the partners’ pre-existing data collection practices and requirements. Technical experts will review a final proposal plan in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory in October. The NWBLCC Steering Committee can amend and adopt a final plan in April, 2017. Funding comes from the Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Informing, empowering, and scaling community adaptation to Arctic change

When climate change disrupts a village, city, state, or province, how do leaders respond? What  unexpected obstacles do they run into? Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan want to know what factors are conducive to communities adapting to climate change. They also want to better characterize exactly what impedes progress.8434046494_c644a4dc57_kThe team is investigating different models of adaptation ranging from top-down government planning to grassroots organization. Specifically, the team will compare communities in Yukon Territory and Alaska to show how different jurisdictions respond to change.  They’re developing a framework to provide communities and planners new tools to chart their future. The team is beginning by identifying and documenting databases that explain adaptation efforts. They are conducting interviews and bringing together diverse groups.  Funding comes from the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative and the Alaska Climate Science Center.

What Does Social Network Theory Have To Do With Conservation?

Hundreds of miles, political boundaries, and reams of regulations separate the dozens of federal and regional agencies, scientists, First Nations, and others working to maintain a functioning boreal ecosystem. Who talks to whom? About what? No single individual currently knows. Describing the social network that links the interconnected partners is the first step to leverage the network’s capacity to be greater than the sum of its parts.The Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative partners and a social network scientist are applying social network theory to create a system of nodes and edges of a Conservation Social Network. Dr. Patrick Bixler from Texas A&M University is working with partners to quantify the connections and flow of information. A short series of surveys that began in 2015 will measure the baseline dynamics of partner communication and establish a place from which to set benchmarks and future goals. The idea is to better leverage partner expertise and facilitate collaboration across the geographic and regulatory lines. Funding is from the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

NWB LCC Hosts Climate Adaptation Training

The Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative teamed up with the National Conservation Training Center to help conservation practitioners prepare for future challenges. The two-part course set out to help people translate adaptation concepts to concrete efforts in their daily work. They began by learning about the tools and techniques they need to craft conservation goals and planning. Participants in the second half of the course integrated quantitative information and creative thinking to make narratives in which they applied adaptive techniques. The instruction was based on two guides: Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice and Considering Multiple Futures: Scenario Planning to Address Uncertainty in Natural Resource Conservation.Funding is from the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Mapping Decades of Research Across Alaska and Canada

Three geocoders poured through thousands of academic journal articles, dissertations, book chapters, and agency research located in the LCC’s natural resource bibliography in the fall of 2015. Alaska Resource Library and Information Service partnered with the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative to connect thousands of pages of scientific research in recent decades with a simple searchable map interface. The team created polygons to that linked research to well-known places like the Kluane Lake region of Yukon Territory, interior Alaska research sites, as well as remote field sites across the northern boreal forest. A team is now merging the bibliographic records to the newly created spatial data. Ecologists, planners, natural resource managers, and citizens will be able to navigate an online map to find the decades of research that biologists and social scientists have done in a particular region or site. Investigators can access complementary research that might be overlooked if not for a spatial component. Landscape-wide science and conservation planning requires access to landscape-wide knowledge. This project brings Alaskan and Canadian research to the forefront of modern bibliographic information systems. Funding is from the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative.