NWB LCC Steering Committee Member Honored

Gary Larsen gives a tour of the CRREL Permafrost Tunnel Research Facility near Fox, Alaska. Photo by Ben Matheson/NWB LCC.

NWB LCC Steering Committee member Gary Larsen from the Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Fairbanks has been honored with the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service.

Read more at the Fairbanks Daily News Miner:

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High Altitude Balloon Captures the Boreal Forest from Near Space

A group of engineering students and recent graduates flew a balloon to the edge of space near Fairbanks earlier this year. The group associated with the company, Night Crew Labs, built a balloon that took cameras up to 90,000 feet, or nearly 20 miles above the surface.

According to a summary posted by the team, the engineers brought their custom equipment and eight tanks of helium to the launch site with the intent of filming several scenes, including the northern lights:

On the morning of our first launch, we drove about 10 miles west of Fairbanks, and stopped at a parking turn-out off the side of the mountain ridge highway. We filled the balloon and prepared the camera payload as the air temperature was well below freezing. After the launch, we immediately drove to the expected landing site, Chena Lakes Recreation area, about 40 miles away. Using our real-time radio link, we could track the payload throughout the mission. We finally lost track of it when it descended below 2000 ft, and the line-of-sight radio link was lost. As was the case for both day flights, all the equipment worked, and we recovered both flights with relative ease. Each flight landed within half a mile from a road, requiring us to trek in with snowshoes.

You can see images of the flight and video here, or read about it in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

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Alaska Joint Fire Science Consortium Presentations Published

The Alaska Fire Science Consortium has published materials from several activities earlier in 2017.

The Alaska Joint Fire Science Consortium has published several presentations from their conference and workshops earlier this year, “Opportunities to Apply Remote Sensing in Boreal/Arctic Wildfire Management and Science.”

Opportunities to Apply Remote Sensing in Boreal/Arctic Wildfire Management and Science
Workshop speakers included:
Bud Cribley, Everett Hinkley, Wilfrid Schroeder, Nancy French, Dan Thompson and many more.

2017 Spring Alaska Fire Science Workshop
Workshop speakers included:
Joe Little, Winslow Hansen, Colin McFayden, Paul Duffy and Courtney Schultz

Climate change: is it really human-caused, and should we worry about it? What does it mean for the future of fire in Alaska?
Webinar speaker:
Heidi Strader, AICC Predictive Services

Implications of threshold relationships for projecting fire-regime responses to climate change
Webinar speaker:
Adam Young, University of Idaho

In addition, the Fire Behavior and Modeling Group is leading a revision of the 2008 Fuel Model Guide. When complete, the revised guide will include better photo documentation, more fire behavior comments, suggestions for alternate fuel models to use under different conditions, and help with characterizing post-fire habitats. The team hopes to finalize the revision in fall 2017.

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A “Test Kitchen” at the Southern Edge of the Boreal Forest

The pine forest in Minnesota is experiencing long-term changes. Photo by flickr user . snoman_mn , CC.

At the southern edge of the boreal forest in northern Minnesota, the spruce trees are in retreat. A diverse group of state, federal, academic, and NGO partners are experimenting with planting conifers in places they have a better chance of success.

As Minnesota Public Radio reports, the forest is projected to convert from pine trees to a hardwood forest in future decades, but there is an interest in diversifying the tree cover.

“…foresters are targeting specific areas of the forests, cold spots on the landscape, where temperatures have historically been cooler, or the temperature has not been rising as fast, where spruce, pine and other species may be able to continue to survive, even as the bulk of the boreal forest migrates northward.”

Read the full article here.

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What is Global Business’ Role in Landscape Connectivity?

The new report explores collaborations across different sectors to achieve business and ecological goals.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in collaboration with multinational agribusiness Syngenta has released a report on landscape connectivity. The report makes the business case for supporting connectivity platforms, such as using marginal land in industrial and rural areas, introducing green infrastructure in cities, and promoting spatial planning. From the report:

“Land connectivity initiatives are clearly in the interests of industry stakeholders directly affected by reduced biodiversity, but there are a number of factors that may also motivate others, including better reputation, improved relationships with local communities and stakeholders, and the creation of platforms for engaging with conservation organizations.

Incorporating the private sector voice into existing initiatives will not only have an impact on land use and management practices, but will also bring valuable knowledge and potential partnership opportunities, enhancing connectivity efforts. Businesses can benefit from being in a connected landscape and taking an active role in addressing landscape connectivity.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

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Seeing the forest and the trees: new paper argues “two scales are better than one”

The Manitou Forest region in which the study took place.

A new paper explores how remotely sensed data and field level information to shed light upon a changing northern forest.

In a paper titled “Two scales are better than one: Monitoring multiple-use northern temperate forests,” lead author Mark Wright of the Nature Conservancy writes that using multiple scales of data brought out trends in the northern Minnesota forest that would not have been seen if researchers stayed at a single scale.

“Combining remotely sensed and field data provided a more robust evidence base for decision-making than either approach could have provided alone. For example, examining remote-sensing data alone indicates that the rate of severe disturbance (timber harvest) peaked during the 20-year analysis period, and has declined in recent years. As disturbance rates declined, patch size and the proportion of forest in later successional stages all increased from year 2000 levels. These indicators of landscape structure showed positive shifts towards conservation objectives, but only tell part of the whole story. Field data elucidate a number of negative trends, including poor regeneration of key species…”

The paper was published in the January 2017 issue of the journal Forest Ecology and Management.

Northwest Boreal LCC partners have conducted work to explore a coordinated monitoring program across the boreal forest, leveraging existing field-level collection program and remotely sensed data.

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Collaborative Planning on the Kenai Peninsula

Skilak Glacier, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Matthew Strausser, USFWS.

Thousands of residents, a long list of public agencies, Alaska Native Tribes, and one of the biggest engines of Alaska tourism all call the Kenai Peninsula home, in addition to the world-class king salmon and moose that help make it a special place.

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Supervisory Fish & Wildlife Biologist John Morton recently wrote in the Peninsula Clarion. about a workshop that brought together more than 80 people to find ways to work together in new ways. Morton emphasized that there is a shared interested in having the smartest, most collaborative minds together.

“But there are some landscape-scale issues that simply know no boundaries, and this is the role that interagency and citizen-driven partnerships fill. The All Lands – All Hands partnership strategically places fuel breaks around communities to help stop wildfires that might not otherwise stop when they burn to the boundaries of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership works to protect, maintain, restore and enhance fish habitat wherever it may occur, helped by the Partners for Fish &Wildlife Program and the National Fish Passage Program. Interagency partners in the Kenai Peninsula Cooperative Weed Management Area work as a team to eradicate and contain invasive plant species.”

Read more from Morton here.

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Job Opportunities Connected with ABoVE Projects

ABoVE_Logo_large_blue

NASA’s ABoVE has posted several job opportunities online.

The Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE), a NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program field campaign conducted in Alaska and Western Canada, has posted several job opportunities related to ABoVE projects.

ABoVE is a large-scale study of environmental change and its implications for social-ecological systems. ABoVE’s science objectives are broadly focused on (1) gaining a better understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of Arctic and boreal ecosystems to environmental change in western North America, and (2) providing the scientific basis for informed decision-making to guide societal responses at local to international levels. Research for ABoVE will link field-based, process-level studies with geospatial data products derived from airborne and satellite sensors, providing a foundation for improving the analysis, and modeling capabilities needed to understand and predict ecosystem responses and societal implications.

Information from NASA.gov.

If you have a position to post, or if the position shown here is no longer open, you can email ABoVE Website Support support@cce.nasa.gov

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Conservation Coaches Network Open Standards Training Scheduled

Conservation Coaches Network has scheduled training for May 2017.

Conservation Coaches Network has scheduled training for May 2017.

A Conservation Coaches Network Training is scheduled from May 21 to May 26 in Ashland, Oregon at Buckhorn Springs Retreat Center.

The next CCNet coach training in North America after this one will be in late January 2018, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV.

This training is intended to train conservation coaches who are already familiar with the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. This is a not basic Open Standards course.

Cost
The cost for the Oregon coach training is approximately $850 per person, double occupancy. This price covers the cost of the meeting rooms, your lodging & food during the training, and covers the expenses (but not salaries) of the organizer and three coach trainers.

Travel
You would be responsible for your own travel costs to and from the venue.The most convenient airport for the Oregon training is Medford, OR.

Registration
If you are interested in registering for one of the trainings, please review the following instructions.

Please email Theresa Jensen (tjensen@mediate.com), copying John Morrison (john.morrison@wwfus.org), and please put “CCNet Training” in the subject line for a registration form.

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2017 Polar Geospatial Center Boot Camp Accepting Applications

A digital elevation model rendering of the Kuparuk River Watershed in Alaska’s Arctic. Image via Polar Geospatial Center.

The 2017 Polar Geospatial Center Boot Camp, an intensive, four-day geospatial workshop is accepting applications. This year’s event will take place from August 7th – 10th on the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota.

The workshop focuses on applications of commercial satellite imagery for polar science. Instructor-led short courses include Discovering Geospatial Data at the Poles, DEM Extraction from Stereoscopic Imagery, Georeferencing Maps and Aerial Imagery, and more. The PGC Boot Camp also hosts visiting expert speakers and offers dedicated project work time for one-on-one support from PGC staff.

Visit the Polar Boot Camp website for details. Application closes June 14th, 2017!

Prerequisites
Proficiency with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a prerequisite for admission to the workshop.

Course Fees
The non-refundable participation fee for this course is $150.

Accommodation
We have reserved a block of single-occupancy rooms in an on-campus dormitory at a rate of $48.65/night.

Timeline

Application deadline: June 14, 2017

Notification of acceptance: June 21, 2017

Course fee due: July 21, 2017

Workshop begins: August 7, 2017

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