• Using remote sensing to examine changes of closed-basin surface water area in Interior Alaska from 1950-2002

      Riordan, Brian Alan (2005-05)
      Over the past fifty years Alaska has experienced an increase in mean annual temperature. This warming may be causing significant changes in hydrology and permafrost dynamics. In recent decades, Native Americans and land managers have reported losses of water bodies and surface water area in interior Alaska. We conducted a study to determine the degree to which these informal observations were representative of a regional trend in surface water area loss. This study examines closed-basin water bodies in nine regions across Alaska: 1) Copper River Basin, 2) Talkeetna, 3) Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, 4) Denali National Park, 5) Innoko Flats National Wildlife Refuge, 6) Minto Flats State Game Refuge, 7) Stevens Village, 8) Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, and 9) Prudhoe Bay/Arctic Coastal Plain. The study included approximately 850,000 hectares and over 40,000 water bodies. To conduct such a large-scale study, GIS and Remote Sensing techniques were applied. Water body change detection was conducted over a fifty-year time period. A minimum of three time periods were used for each area. Imagery included black and white aerial photography (1950 -1957), color infrared aerial photography (1978 -1982), Landsat TM (1986 - 1995), and Landsat ETM+ (1999 - 2002). Based on these images, water body polygons were digitized for each time period. Area was calculated for each polygon and compared to corresponding ponds from images at later times. Of the nine regions, six showed substantial reductions in surface water area: Copper River Basin, Minto Flats, Innoko Flats, Yukon Flats, Stevens Village, and Denali National Park. The Innoko Flats and Copper River Basin regions showed the most loss at 31% and 28% respectively. There are several mechanisms possible for reductions of surface water in a warming climate including increased formation of taliks, increased soil water holding capacity, increased evapotranspiration, and terrestrialization.
    • utilization of native BLUEJOINT grass in alaska

      Klebesadel, L.J.; Laughlin, W.M. (University of Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1964-03)
    • Utilizing pasture resources for sub-Arctic agriculture: sustainable livestock production in Alaska

      Starr, Laura Marie; Rowell, Janice; Greenberg, Joshua; Seefeldt, Steven; Zhang, Mingchu (2017-05)
      It is estimated that the globe must produce 100% more food in the next 50 years to meet growing demand while addressing the compounding challenge of climate change. One potential solution to this challenge is to produce more on existing agricultural lands and put more land into production. The extremely cold and dry climate that characterizes much of Alaska has all but removed the state from the state and national discussions of agricultural production and development. Yet despite this apparent incompatibility with traditional agricultural models, some of the largest wild herds of grazing ungulates are indigenous to Alaska - and thriving. This is both a testament to the resilience of grazing systems in general as well as a statement to the suitability of grazing systems specifically for Alaska. To shift the paradigm towards ecological and economic sustainability, we need to develop sustainable agricultural strategies that are specific to this unique ecosystem. A two-fold approach was used in this body of research: Is there an indigenous livestock species that could be economically feasible enterprise option? Is there a grazing management regime for subarctic Alaska that would improve ecosystem services and optimize pasture resources? I conducted an economic feasibility study of farming muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus), a uniquely adapted Arctic ungulate, to address the first question. An enterprise budget was used to estimate the fixed and variable costs and to model different revenue scenarios using six different combinations of qiviut, sold as raw fiber or value added yarn, and livestock sales to estimate the total economic potential of farming muskoxen at two scales, 36 and 72 muskoxen. Farming muskoxen was economically sustainable under several revenue scenarios. The most profitable scenario for either herd size was selling all the qiviut as value added yarn coupled with livestock sales. The enterprise was profitable at either scale assuming all the yarn sold at full retail price. If no livestock were sold, selling the total qiviut harvest as yarn was the only profitable option. When selling raw fiber alone, the break-even point was at a herd size of 124 muskoxen. Economies of scale accounted for a decrease in costs of approximately 21% overall, 30% in labor, and 23% in herd health, as the herd doubled in size. To address the need for grazing management strategies that are both environmentally and economically sustainable in Alaska, I conducted a study to evaluate the potential of intensively managed rotational grazing (IMRG) regimes on sub-arctic pasture. This regime is designed to mimic the short but intense grazing of wild, migratory ungulates that could enhance ecosystem function while optimizing pasture usage and forage growth. I conducted simulated grazing, applied using IMRG methodology, to evaluate above and below ground response to an IMRG regime and to gain insight on the role of grazing disturbance mechanisms on sub-arctic soil and plant health. A full factorial experiment of muskox dung/urine deposition (M), simulated trampling (T), and herbivory (H) (forage clipping), mimicking IMRG timing and intensity, was conducted at the Large Animal Research Station (LARS), UAF. I used a randomized block design with 96-1 m² plots in two established pastures with different soil types, over the 2014 and 2015 grazing seasons. I documented a treatment effect on soil parameters, forage growth, and percentage of bare soil (p<0.05). Soil nitrogen cycling and the Haney Soil Health Index both increased in plots that received a combination M and T or MT and H. The forage yield was consistently increased by MH, MTH, and H treatments. Although the MT and T treatments had a negative impact on forage yield, they had the largest reduction in the amount of bare ground. The data from this simulated study suggest that theories that underpin the IMRG method are potentially useful to producers, in the unique Alaskan subarctic environment.
    • Validating SNAP climate models

      Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2009
    • Vegetable Cultivar Trials 2003

      Matheke, Grant E. M.; Hanscom, Jan; Holloway, Patricia S.; Gardiner, Alfreda (University of Alaska Fairbanks, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Georgeson Botanical Garden, 2004-10)
    • Vegetable gardening in Alaska

      Georgeson, C. C. (Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 1928-11)
      This bulletin is intended for settlers and prospective settlers in Alaska and for others who may be interested in gardening in the Territory. The information given is based upon the results of investigations by the Alaska Experiment Stations during 29 years and should be useful to those who are planning to make Alaska their home. The great extent of the Territory and the variable climate make it necessary to refer briefly to the features which characterize the climate as a whole and to some extent to local conditions as regards temperature and rainfall during the growing season.
    • Vegetable growing in Alaska

      Georgeson, C. C. (Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1905)
      In this bulletin an attempt is made to present in an assimilated form what experiments and experience have taught as the best practice for vegetable growing in Alaska. It is of course understood that it is utterly impossible to give directions which can be followed in all places and under all circumstances. The Territory of Alaska is so extensive and the climatic conditions so variable that a practice which may be highly satisfactory in one section or in a given locality may result in total failure in others. Indeed, it is not infrequently the case that a practice which is successful in any given locality one year may result in failure the next year. This is the case, for instance, when the season is very wet one year and dry the next. In a wet season it is quite often desirable to raise the seed beds 4 to 6 inches by shoveling out the paths between them, but this practice is not a success in a dry season. It is therefore possible to give only general directions in a bulletin which is intended to be of use in the whole Territory. There are two factors which modify the practice in Alaska as compared with farming and gardening elsewhere; and these are (1) the climate, and (2) the soil. The Alaska climate has a reputation for rigor and inclemency on which it is not necessary to comment here. This fact is accepted as a matter of course. The fact that the soil differs in many respects from soil in more temperate latitudes is perhaps not so well understood. Such is, nevertheless, the case, and before one can work it successfully he must learn, either from his own experience or the experience of others, in what respects it differs from soil in lower latitudes.
    • Vegetable Trials 2006

      Matheke, Grant E.M.; Hanscom, Jan; Holloway, Patricia S.; Gardiner, Etta (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2007-02)
    • Vegetable Variety Trials Matanuska Valley, Alaska 1989

      Gavlak, Raymond G.; Carling, Don; Comeau, Mary; Purser, Jerry; Vandre, Wayne; Walworth, Jim; Wright, Catherine (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, 1990-05)
      To remain competitive, commercial vegetable producers require updated information on the performance of new vegetable varieties under the soil and climatic conditions of southcentral Alaska. Variety trials provide the opportunity to evaluate potentially adapted plant material. Although many varieties are developed in environments considerably different from that of southcentral Alaska, some may prove to be useful to commercial growers in Alaska. The information on new varieties must be collected over several growing seasons to provide sufficient confidence in the observed performance. Additionally, each year of the performance trials, new varieties are grown with traditional or standard varieties which are used to compare the quality of the new varieties. Commercial production of new varieties should be considered after several years of variety trial work with initial plantings on a small production scale.
    • Vegetation succession and pedogenesis on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta near St. Mary's, Alaska

      Woodgate, Melissa M.; Ping, Chien-Lu; Valentine, David; Swanson, David (2015-08)
      Arctic lowlands of Alaska are known to contain large stores of soil organic carbon (SOC) in organic-rich wetland systems and in the permafrost. Vegetation succession that follows floodplain and wetland development strongly affects the organic carbon stores and distribution of permafrost. Due to recent climate warming there has been losses of permafrost, and much of the SOC stored in Arctic lowlands is at risk for transfer within the global carbon budget. The vast Arctic lowland system in western Alaska is within the zone of discontinuous permafrost. It is anticipated to lose most of the permafrost within this century, yet it is inadequately studied due to the lack of road system connecting the region. This study is the first designed to explore the relationships between vegetation succession and soil development at different stages of sediment deposition. The study area is near St. Mary's at the north part of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Coastal Plain in western Alaska. Soil development is weak due to frequent flooding events and prolonged saturation. The irregular distribution of organic carbon and detritus, silt dominated particle size distribution, and nearly uniform composition of clay minerals with depth attest the alluvial deposition due to flooding events. Cryaquents were found in poor to very-poorly drained raised alluvial bars, Cryaquepts were found on somewhat poorly drained levees, Historthels were found on an abandoned floodplain, and Cryofibrists in very poorly drained depressions. Carbon stores range from 27.7 kg C m⁻² on raised alluvial bars and levees and 40.9 to 45.3 kg C m⁻² on oxbow depressions and the abandoned floodplain. It is crucial to have reliable measurements of SOC stores in order to estimate the potential impact of climate change on the global carbon budget. Soil development and nutrient level in response to vegetation succession are also reported for the area near St. Mary's, Alaska to add to the current understanding of soils in the region and the global carbon budget.
    • Visitor Preferences for Interpretation in Kennecott Mill Town, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

      Taylor, Stephen C.; Fix, Peter J. (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, 2006-02)
      This report compiles the results from a study on visitor preferences for interpretation in Kennecott Mill Town within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (WRST). This study was conducted in cooperation of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the National Park Service during summer 2004.
    • WASTE-MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR DAIRY FARMS IN ALASKA

      Cullum, Robert F. (Agricultural Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska, 1983-05)
      Manure handling is one of the most unappreciated chores associated with livestock enterprises. It is also the most difficult problem to solve in a totally satisfactory manner because physical characteristics of manure usually change with the daily weather, seasons, and ration. All handling systems have their limitations, and none works perfectly all the time. The problem of manure handling is most easily solved if cows are confined in covered housing because physical characteristics of the manure remain more uniform under cover — no surface water, less drying and freezing. Improper design of manure-handling systems may lead to higher costs for redesign than new facilities would cost. Even with new facilities, manure handling may present major problems if systems are inadequate for the particular environmental conditions of the area. In continuing efforts to improve livestock waste-handling systems, new methods and equipment are being used. Waste-system components, related closely to dairy-manure handling, deal with removal of waste from buildings and storage facilities that are separated from the livestock housing facility. The major systems provide for collection, transfer, storage, and land application, and are divided into two groups — liquid and semisolid manurehandling systems. Many manure-handling systems are used in the United States. Not all of these systems, however, are adapted to northern climates. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation currently has no code of practice for livestock waste facilities. The agency, however, must be notified for approval of waste-treatment systems used in livestock enterprises. The systems described in this report comply with current state codes in the northern United States and Canada, and most are adaptable to the environmental conditions of Alaska.
    • Water Retention, Bulk Density, Particle Size, and Thermal and Hydraulic Conductivity of Arable Soils in Interior Alaska

      Sharratt, Brenton S. (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, 1990-10)
      The relative proportion of liquid, gas, and solid as constituents of soil depends on factors such as climate, biological activity, and management practices. Therefore, the physical state of soil is a dynamic process, changing with time and position in the profile. Temperature, thermal and hydraulic conductivity, density, and water content are some quantitative properties characterizing the physical state of soil. These properties are important in describing soil processes such as water and heat flow, movement of chemicals, biological activity, and erosion. Water in the soil is subject to a number of forces resulting from the attraction of the soil matrix for water and presence of solutes and gravity. The energy status of water-the sum of these forces-is termed water potential. Processes such as evaporation and plant water uptake are governed by the gradient in water potential in the soil and across the root-soil interface, respectively. The term water potential is more descriptive of the soil water status than water content as movement of water is in response to differences in water potential.
    • WCSS Post-Conference Tour #1 Cryosols and Arctic Tundra Ecosystems, Alaska

      Ping, Chien-Lu (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2006-07)
    • Weed Control in Annual Strawberries Grown with Plastic Mulch: Efficacy, Phytotoxicity, and Soil Persistence Studies

      Farris, Martha; Conn, Jeffery S. (School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, 1987-10)
      Cool soil temperatures in Alaska are a limiting factor for many crops. Clear plastic mulch has been shown to increase soil temperatures, and use of this mulch has allowed the production of many warm season crops farther north than they could otherwise be grown. Clear plastic mulch and row covers are used in interior Alaska to promote early growth and increase yields of strawberries.
    • Wellness through the lens of gathering, gardening, and grocery

      Busby, Shannon; Bersamin, Steve; Seefeldt, Steve; Meier, Rose (2016-08)
      The food environment in rural Alaska has undergone a rapid transition as communities have gone from subsistence to cash based economies. As this nutrition transition continues and is further impacted by climate change, rural Alaskans need diverse food sources to maintain health and improve resilience. The objective of this research was to assess the role cultivated and wild plants play in wellness, and to understand current perceptions of gardening as a source of vegetables and improved wellness in Barrow, Alaska. A mixed methods approach was used, the qualitative component consisting of seven focus groups, 60 minutes each, which were audio recorded. Following each focus group, a questionnaire was administered to all participants. Focus group recordings were transcribed and coded in Atlas.ti for themes. Questionnaire data were compiled in Microsoft Excel and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Alaska Native adults were recruited to participate through snowball and convenience sampling. The study found that gathering played a strong role in wellness, in particular as it relates to nutrition, connection to the land, traditional foods, culture, and medicine. However, participants also reported lacking knowledge about plants from the tundra. The overwhelming majority of plants consumed were from the grocery store. In contrast to gathered plants, participants’ perceived that plants from the grocery store only address one dimension of wellness--dietary health. Gardening was perceived as a valuable new local source of fruits and vegetables. These results provide insight into the role that plants play in wellness in an Alaska Native community that is experiencing a nutrition transition. This study found that fruits and vegetables from the garden, grocery store, and tundra each play important, but different roles in wellness. This is consistent with previous studies and highlights the importance of considering each source when addressing wellness in Alaska Native communities. In addition, having a diverse food portfolio that includes fruits and vegetables from all three sources, especially local sources, is key to achieving food security and sovereignty.
    • Wetlands and Wastewater Treatment in Alaska

      Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2005
    • What community characteristics lead to the successful outcome of rural water projects?

      Sam, Josephine-Mary; Todd, Susan; Meek, Chanda; Gasbarro, Anthony; Shapiro, Lewis; Shepherd, Judy (2016-05)
      Programs to provide clean water have been shown to lead to improvements in education, health and women’s economic conditions in beneficiary communities in the developing world. However, methods to ensure the sustainability of rural water supplies have been elusive. Handpumps in rural communities break down frequently; over 50 percent of handpumps in sub-Saharan Africa are unusable at any time, causing the people to go back to their traditional water sources of streams, ponds and shallow wells with their attendant health risks and inconvenience. These repeated failures have led development practitioners and funding agencies like the European Union to question the effectiveness of rural water supply programs. Clearly, there is a need to determine how to make rural water projects more sustainable. In this study, I posit that sustainable water projects are a function of five categories of variables: demonstrated ability to manage local projects, financial management of local projects, voluntary participation in community projects, an active role of women within the community, and widespread understanding of the benefits of clean water. This study addresses gaps in research within the rural water supply sector by examining multiple factors that influence the outcomes of rural water supply projects, rather than focusing on single variables as done in previous studies. I used interviews, focus group discussions, and analysis of village records to determine if these variables influenced the status of water projects in eight villages in Ghana. I found that all of these variables play a role in successful community water projects. It takes efficient leadership to formulate and implement effective rules; an engaged, responsible citizenry who appreciate the importance of clean water to ensure compliance; efficient financial management to afford the cost of routine maintenance, and active women’s participation in managing the facility. The latter should include training women to conduct routine maintenance and repair simple faults. This ensures that women, who have the highest stake in a convenient source of clean water, have a direct role in its maintenance. The presence of a strong monitoring system and the availability of timely technical support were also crucial in ensuring successful water projects. These findings demonstrate that while the infrastructure of community water supplies is important, the presence of a strong management system is as vital to their long-term success. This highlights the need to invest in both infrastructure and management of rural water supply projects.
    • What variables foster the adoption and implementation of sustainable practices by local governments?

      Duffy, John; Todd, Susan; Valentine, David; Meek, Chanda; Joly, Julie (2015-08)
      The importance of local governments in developing sustainable communities and meeting the challenges of climate change was recognized at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The principle ways that local governments may influence the pursuit of sustainability and the creation of resilient and adaptive communities is their planning responsibilities, building codes, infrastructure investments and economic development efforts. Yet most local governments are not pursuing sustainability nor embarking on efforts to build more resilient communities. This exploratory study evaluated variables that appeared useful for explaining the pursuit of sustainability and resiliency by local governments. Casting more light on the variables that foster sustainability at the local government level may help more local governments pursue such efforts. The research question that guided the research is: What variables foster the adoption and implementation of sustainable practices by local governments? Answering this question provides a foundation for additional research on the results found here and thereby foster sustainability at the local government level. A multi-case study approach was used as the selected research method. The cases included fourteen small local governments located in Alaska and Oregon, some practicing sustainability and others not. Data were collected through surveys, interviews, government reports and databases as well as archival document analyses. This exploratory research identified the variable categories of institutional setting, political party affiliation and community well-being as having strong to moderate association with local government pursuit of sustainability. In other words, of the variables studied, these three categories are the most likely to foster sustainability. If these results are confirmed by further studies, then doing what we can to increase these four characteristics would also foster sustainability. The study also suggests that small local governments behave differently than large local governments (populations exceeding 250,000). While additional research is necessary to confirm this studys exploratory findings, it appears that in order for local government pursuit of sustainability to occur, a favorable milieu as described by the variable categories noted above must exist.
    • White Spruce Regeneration on a Blade-Scarified Alaskan Loess Soil

      Packee, Edmond C. (1990-09)
      Following hardwood removal from a mixed spruce-birch-aspen forest stand, portions of the stand were blade-scarified to encourage natural white spruce regeneration. Six years after treat­ment the number and height of white spruce seedlings were significantly greater on scarified than on unscarified plots. Whereas 100% of scarified sample plots contained five or more seedlings, 73% of unscarified plots contained no seedlings. Exposure of mineral soil and removal of grass competition are essential for the sat­ isfactory natural regeneration of white spruce. Detailed regeneration surveys should not be considered for white spruce until seedlings are 15 em tall, typically the fifth or sixth year after site preparation.