Recent Submissions

  • Preliminary Fairbanks Bee Pollinator Protection Plan

    Adams, Samuel E.; Todd, Susan K.; Karlsson, Meriam; Spellman, Katie (2020-05)
    Global declines in pollinator species have been documented in several studies across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Honeybees, bumble bees and Monarch butterflies have been hit particularly hard in the US. This Preliminary Fairbanks Bee Pollinator Protection Plan recommends ways to increase public awareness of the problems facing bees and other pollinators, methods to increase and protect pollinator habitat and steps to take to reduce the use of pesticides. The plan also includes a list of native and nonnative plants that grow well in the Fairbanks area and that are attractive to insect pollinators. Planting these species can greatly increase the local habitat for pollinators. In developing the plan, I evaluated 12 pollinator plans from other areas, learned about local pollinators and their habitat requirements, and surveyed local beekeepers. To create the goals, objectives and actions included in this plan, I combined ideas from each of these three sources plus ideas of my own. The plan is not intended to be implemented by any one individual or agency. Instead, the plan can be used by anyone interested in improving pollinator habitat. If you have a backyard, access to a community garden, or just a few pots or a windowsill, you can create pollinator habitat. In addition to individuals, there are many businesses, government agencies, non-profits and other organizations that may be interested in taking steps listed in the plan to benefit bees and other pollinators.
  • Human well-being in recreation: an investigation of the expectancy-valence theory

    Harrington, Andrew M. (2011-05)
    Over the past 50 years, numerous approaches exploring the recreation experience have offered a multitude of concepts and terminology, resulting in a debate over which best represent recreation behavior. This study adopts one of these approaches, the motivational approach, and explores its underpinning theory, expectancy-valence; addresses its limitations presented in the literature; and investigates the potential for the integration with other approaches. A modified analytic induction methodology was applied to address five hypotheses developed to address study questions. Longitudinal, qualitative data were collected through two separate interviews one week apart with 16 individuals that captured their thoughts regarding their recreation activities. A codebook was developed and a kappa statistic revealed an acceptable (K = 0.61 to 0.80) level of inter-coder reliability. Codes were developed based on constructs from the expectancy-valence framework prior to examining the transcripts. Evidence of these codes in the transcripts provided support for the theory. Consistent with modified analytic induction, some hypotheses were confirmed, while one was modified when evidence to the contrary was found. Further examination of the data revealed the potential for integration of other approaches.
  • Arctic sea ice: satellite observations, global climate model performance, and future scenarios

    Rogers, Tracy S.; Rupp, Scott (2011-08)
    This thesis examined Arctic sea ice trends through observational records and model-derived scenarios. A regional analysis of Arctic sea ice observations 1980-2008 identified regional trends similar to the pan-Arctic. However, winter maximum (March) extent in the Atlantic quadrant declined faster. Through an analysis of Atlantic Ocean temperatures and Arctic winds, we concluded that melting sea ice extent may result in increased Atlantic Ocean temperatures, which feeds back to further reductions in Atlantic quadrant extent. Further, Arctic winds do not appear to drive Atlantic ice extent. We evaluated performance of 13 Global Climate Models, reviewing retrospective (1980-2008) sea ice simulations and used three metrics to compare with the observational record. We examined and ranked models at the pan-Arctic domain and regional quadrants, synthesizing model performance across several Arctic studies. The top performing models were able to better capture pan-Arctic trends and regional variability. Using the best performing models, we analyzed future sea ice projections across key access routes in the Arctic and found likely reduced ice coverage through 2100, allowing increasingly longer marine operations. This unique assessment found the Northwest and Northeast Passages to hold potential for future marine access to the Arctic, including shipping and resource development opportunities.
  • The Importance of communication in land use planning for interior Alaska: a participant observation study

    Lunsford, Olivia K.; Trainor, Sarah; Veazey, Pips; Dawe, Janice (2019-04)
    Three case studies (i.e., (1) FNSB Marijuana Zoning, (2) The Joint Land Use Study, and (3) Rethinking Smith Ranch) were examined in the context of land use planning to assist the reader in understanding some of the challenges a second-class borough in Alaska faces. The researcher utilized an opportunity with the Fairbanks North Star Borough to perform a participant observation study which demonstrated the complexity in engaging and communicating with citizens of the area. The researcher identified the three following critical themes and referenced planning literature to analyze them: (1) challenges to accomplishing goals, (2) the importance of communication, and (3) potential solutions to overcoming challenges. Upon identifying the challenges experienced both during the case studies, as well as outside of the case studies, the researcher determined possible solutions to help the borough’s Department of Community Planning overcome the difficulties associated with communication and engagement of citizens.
  • Pairwise comparisons of shrub change across alpine climates show heterogeneous response to temperature in Dall's Sheep range

    Melham, Mark; Valentine, Dave; Panda, Santosh; Brinkman, Todd (2019-12)
    Encroachment of woody vegetation into alpine and high latitude systems complicates resource use for specialist wildlife species. We converted Landsat imagery to maps of percent shrub cover in alpine areas of Dall's sheep (Ovis dalli dalli) range. We then compared percent cover to interpolated climate data to infer drivers of shrub change between the 1980s and 2010s and determine if that change is occurring at different rates in climatically distinct alpine areas. We identified areas spatially interconnected by their mean July temperature intervals and compared their rates of shrub change, finding net rates of shrub growth were higher at temperatures notably above shrub growing season minimums. Along a climatic gradient, high precipitation areas had highest net shrub change, Arctic areas followed, while alpine areas of interior Alaska and the cold Arctic showed the least amount of net shrub change at these higher temperatures. Despite the requirement of higher temperatures for shrub growth, temperature and net shrub change displayed different relationships across the range wide climatic gradient. In areas of rapid climate warming, such as the Arctic and cold Arctic, the linear correlation between shrub change and temperature was highest. In the high precipitation areas where temperatures have been largely above growing season minimums during the study period, precipitation had the strongest linear correlation with shrub change. High latitude studies on shrub change focus primarily on expansion in the Arctic, where increased greening trends are linked to higher rates of warming. We provide the broadest climatic examination of shrub change and its drivers in Alaska and suggest shrub expansion 1) occurs more broadly than just in areas of notable climate warming and 2) is dependent on different environmental factors based on regional climate. The implications for Dall's sheep are complicated and further research is necessary to understand their adaptive capacity in response to this widespread vegetative shift.
  • Planning for positive outcomes: testing methods for measuring outdoor recreation preferences on public lands

    Wright, Roger Bryant; Fix, Peter J.; Little, Joseph M.; Dodge, Kathryn (2019-08)
    Outcomes-Focused Management is based on the idea of four levels of demand for recreation: demand for recreation activities, recreation settings, recreation experiences, and lasting benefits of recreation. Public lands can provide the setting, and thus the opportunity for people to engage in meaningful outdoor recreation activities to realize desired experiences and lasting benefits. Implementation of this management framework requires identifying desired outcomes and understanding how management of public lands recreation settings affects visitors' ability to realize them. This thesis addresses the two tasks. The Fairbanks Community Recreation Study investigated current methods of identifying demands for different types of recreation trips, revealing two key shortcomings. First, demand studies often rely solely on activity participation data and thus fail to account for latent demand and desires for meaningful experiences and benefits. Second, data from demand studies are either too general to be useful in site management, or too specific to one site to account for the range of needs within a community. An online survey was developed to characterize salient and latent demands for outdoor recreation in the context of the greater Fairbanks, Alaska community. A unique survey format allowed respondents to describe their hypothetical "ideal" outdoor recreation trips, the required setting characteristics, and what actual places in the region might realistically provide such a trip. Trip profiles yielded a typology of desired recreation for the region. By connecting these types of trips to real places, local land managers can identify which demands they are uniquely equipped to provide for and how to better cater to latent demands. To address the task of measuring the effectiveness of outcomes-focused management practices, an exploratory factor analysis was conducted on data from 13 recreation benefits surveys collected at recreation areas in three western states. Factor structures among individual studies converged on two primary domains of Personal Benefits of recreation and Community Benefits from recreation, each containing a number of potential subdimensions. By identifying latent factors of the recreation benefits construct the study brings research closer to developing and validating a survey instrument to measure lasting beneficial recreation outcomes to individuals and their communities.
  • Crop modeling to assess the impact of climate change on spring wheat growth in sub-Arctic Alaska

    Harvey, Stephen K.; Zhang, Mingchu; Karlsson, Meriam; Fochesatto, Gilberto (2019-05)
    In the sub-arctic region of Interior Alaska, warmer temperatures and a longer growing season caused by climate change could make spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) a more viable crop. In this study, a crop model was utilized to simulate the growth of spring wheat in future climate change scenarios RCP4.5 (medium-low emission) and RCP8.5 (high emission) of Fairbanks, Alaska. In order to fulfill such simulation, in 2018 high quality crop growth datasets were collected at the Fairbanks and Matanuska Valley Experiment Farms and along with historic variety trial data, the crop model was calibrated and validated for simulating days to maturity (emergence to physiological maturity) and yield of spring wheat in Fairbanks. In the Fairbanks 1989-2018 (baseline) climate, growing season (planting to physiological maturity) average temperature and total precipitation are 15.6° C and 122 mm, respectively. In RCP4.5 2020-2049 (2035s), 2050-2079 (2065s), and 2080-2099 (2090s) projected growing season average temperature and total precipitation are 16.7° C, 17.4° C, 17.8° C and 120 mm, 112 mm, 112 mm, respectively. In RCP8.5 2035s, 2065s, and 2090s projected growing season average temperature and total precipitation are 16.8° C, 18.5° C, 19.5° C and 120 mm, 113 mm, 117 mm, respectively. Using Ingal, an Alaskan spring wheat, the model simulated days to maturity and yield in baseline and projected climate scenarios of Fairbanks, Alaska. Baseline days to maturity were 69 and yield was 1991 kg ha-1. In RCP4.5 2035s, 2065s, and 2090s days to maturity decreased to 64, 62, 60 days, respectively, and yield decreased 2%, 6%, 8%, respectively. In RCP8.5 2035s, 2065s, and 2090s days to maturity decreased to 64, 58, 55 days, respectively, and yield decreased 1%, 3%, then increased 1%, respectively. Adaptation by cultivar modification to have a growing degree day requirement of 68 days to maturity in RCP4.5 2035s and RCP8.5 2035s resulted in increased yields of 4% and 5%, respectively. Climatic parameters of temperature and precipitation per growing season day are projected to become more favorable to the growth of spring wheat. However, precipitation deficit, an indicator of water stress was found to stay similar to the baseline climate. Without adaption, days to maturity and yield are projected to decrease. Selection and/or breeding of spring wheat varieties to maintain baseline days to maturity are a priority to materialize yield increases in the area of Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • Multiresolution digital soil mapping of permafrost soils using a random forest classifier: an investigation along the Dalton Highway corridor, Alaska

    Paul, Joshua D.; Ping, Chien-Lu; Prakash, Anupma; Rossello, Jordi Cristobal; Libohova, Zamir (2018-12)
    In order to complete soil inventories in the remote permafrost zones of Alaska, there is a need to develop efficient digital soil mapping tools that can be applied over large areas using a minimum of ground truth data. This investigation first used a random forest classifier to test combinations of environmental input data at multiple resolutions (10m, 30m, and 100m). Five tiers of soil taxonomic units were predicted: Order, Suborder, Great Group, "Series Concept", and Particle Size Class. Model outputs are compared quantitatively via estimated out-of-bag accuracy, and qualitatively via visual inspection by soil scientists. Estimated out-of-bag accuracy ranged from ~45% to ~75%, with results improving when fewer classes were modeled. Model runs at 10m and 30m resolution performed comparably, with 100m resolution performing ~5-10% worse in most cases. Increasing the number of trees used, including categorical environmental input data (e.g. landforms), and replacement of environmental covariates with principal component analysis (PCA) bands did not significantly improve model performance. The random forest classifier was then used in a digital soil mapping pilot study along the Dalton Highway in northern Alaska. Parameters suggested in the initial study were used to predict multiple soil taxonomic classes from a basic collection of environmental covariates generated using high resolution (10m) satellite images and sparsely sampled pedon data. Covariates included maximum curvature, multiresolution valley bottom flatness, normalized height, potential incoming solar radiation, slope, terrain ruggedness index, and modified soil and vegetation index. Five tiers of soil taxonomic units were predicted: Order, Suborder, Great Group, "Series Concept", and Particle Size Class. Model outputs are compared quantitatively via estimated out-of-bag accuracy. Estimated out-of-bag accuracy ranged from ~45% to ~75%, with results improving when fewer classes were modeled. We suggest future research into optimized sampling to ensure an adequate distribution of samples across the feature space, and the incorporation of expert knowledge into accuracy assessments. Overall, digital soil mapping with random forest classifiers appears to be a promising method for completing the soil survey of Alaska.
  • A farmers guide to evaluate soil health using physical, chemical, and biological indicators on an agricultural field in Alaska

    Cole, Cory J.; Zhang, Mingchu; Matney, Casey; Karlsson, Meriam (2018-12)
    Farmers across Alaska face many challenges. These challenges include climate extremes, wind and water erosion, weed pressure, crop pests, and nutrient-poor soils. Cover crops, crop rotation, crop residue, and tillage management are common conservation practices used to address soil related resource concerns. Research in the continental United States has shown that these soil conservation practices improve soil health. Resource managers are trying to determine the usefulness of soil health indicators to assess conservation practices in Alaska. The objective of this project was to provide Alaskan farmers, conservation planners, and land managers with a background on soil health, soil health indicators, soil health assessments, and the use of conservation practices to improve soil health. Establishing linkages between soil conservation practices and soil health indicators will allow individuals to focus conservation efforts on improving soil conditions, evaluate soil management practices and techniques over time to determine trends, make qualitative comparisons of soil health among management systems, and provide tested measures of soil health (indicators) that will allow farmers and land managers to make more informed resource decisions. Numerous studies were conducted across Alaska to gauge the success of cover cropping, crop rotation, and reduced tillage (no-till). Improvements in physical, chemical, and biological indicators were documented. After one year of study, most cover crops resulted in lower bulk density at the soil surface compared to conventional tillage. Among the cover crop treatments, the perennial forage grass Timothy (Phleum pratense var. Engmo) ranked highest in soil organic matter, soil water content, and improvement to the soil structure. Preliminary data from this project has been gathered to develop an Alaska specific Soil Health Assessment Card and supplementary User Guide.
  • Are sustainable livelihoods critical to the success of community-based marine protected areas?

    Olivier, Nina A. (2018-05)
    Three community-based marine protected areas (CBMPAs) in the Visayas, Philippines were analyzed based on how well they incorporated sustainable livelihood programs into their overall management and planning for those displaced by the CBMPA. Through reviewing management plans and reports, the CBMPAs were then assessed to see whether including alternative livelihoods in these three cases was correlated with greater overall success. Each CBMPA was scored based on their alternative livelihoods and overall success. Management stakeholder perception surveys were also conducted for two of the CBMPA sites studied. Apo Island Marine Reserve scored the highest for its criteria for sustainable livelihood development and criteria for success of a CBMPA. Alternatively, Lawi Marine Reserve scored equivalent to that of Balcon Marine Protected Area for its criteria for sustainable livelihood development, yet the lowest for its criteria for success of a CBMPA. The most successful CBMPA was Apo Island Marine Reserve due to the incorporation of human dimensions into their management planning that helped them create sustainable livelihood programs that increased the community's compliance with the rules and regulations of the CBMPA. In contrast, Balcon Marine Protected Area and Lawi Marine Reserve did not have sustainable livelihood programs in place and their success was far below that of Apo Island. Thus, the overall success of these CBMPAs appears to be strongly correlated with alternative livelihood programs, however further study is needed to determine if this correlation between alternative livelihoods and success is true for the majority of CBMPAs in the Philippines.
  • Marine associated bird and mammal habitat use at the Five Finger Lighthouse Island

    Beraha, Lori (2018-07)
    In summer 2017 I studied the abundance and distribution of marine associated birds and mammals from four observational points on the southernmost of the Five Finger Islands (FFI). My objectives were (1) to identify the areas of highest habitat use by species of conservation concern, and (2) to use this information to make recommendations for an ecosystem-based management plan at the Five Finger Lighthouse Island (FFLI). I found higher relative abundance and higher biodiversity of both birds and marine mammals on the South and West facing sectors compared to the North and East facing sectors. I attribute this to the greater habitat complexity that comprises a near-shore reef, a mixed kelp forest, and a channel between the reef and the side of the island with the highest cliff, areas used extensively for foraging, nesting, traveling, socializing, and resting by many of the documented species. I therefore recommend avoiding development and minimizing anthropogenic disturbance on the southern and western portions of the island including the adjacent reef and channel between the reef and island. As both the FFI ecosystem and the Five Finger Lighthouse (FFL) management continue to evolve in response to changing environmental conditions and human needs, this study provides a useful baseline for future comparison. Continued study and monitoring is also recommended at this site to inform future adaptive management, document changes over time, and engage community stakeholders in science and conservation.
  • A study of soil topo-sequences in the Steese and White Mountains of Alaska

    Geisler, Eric S.; Ping, Chien-Lu; Juday, Glen; Swanson, David (2018-08)
    The Steese Mountains of Alaska present a complex landscape on which to study soil formation and characteristics in relation to topographic position. The White and Steese Mountains of Alaska are located approximately 70 to 220 km northeast of Fairbanks. Ten toposequences with 3 or 4 sites each were described in the field, sampled, and analyzed in the laboratory in order to determine the relationship between soil morphology and soil-forming factors. Permafrost is discontinuous within the study area and vegetation ranges from tundra on summits to boreal stands of resin birch, quaking aspen, black spruce and white spruce along the lower elevations. There have been many wildfires over time that may have altered the soils and affected the vegetation successional patterns. The processes through which various soil patterns have formed and the unique characteristics of the soils are described here based on field data obtained from both burned and unburned sites. The analysis includes biophysical settings, parent material, texture and nutrient concentrations. Organic horizons were common on most of the transects and play a key role in the depth of the active layer where they exist. Nutrient concentrations are also closely tied to the presence and depth of the organic horizons. Some patterns described in other areas of the boreal region were not observed in this study. There were some soil properties that are not readily described under the current taxonomy protocols which are suggested to be added in a future revision of Soil Taxonomy.
  • Comparing Marine Mammal Co-Management Regimes In Alaska: Three Aspects Of Institutional Performance

    Meek, Chanda L. (2009)
    Arctic marine mammals and the communities that depend on them for subsistence are facing unprecedented rates of environmental change. Comparative studies of policy implementation are necessary in order to identify key mechanisms of successful environmental governance under challenging conditions. This study compares two federal agencies responsible for the conservation of Arctic marine mammals. Drawing on multiple methods, I develop in-depth case studies of the policy implementation process for managing bowhead whale and polar bear subsistence hunting. I examine how and why agency approaches to conservation differ and assess policy effectiveness. The analysis focuses on three aspects of institutional performance as drivers of policy outcomes: historical events, organizational culture, and structural relationships with stakeholders. The study begins by tracing the development of marine mammal management in Alaska through time. I find that definitions of subsistence developed under previous eras continue to shape debates over wildlife management in Alaska, confounding ecologically relevant policy reform. I next examine the roles of agency culture, policy history, and relationships with stakeholders in influencing how agencies implement contemporary harvest assessment programs. Findings suggest that the internal orientation of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service makes it more likely to retain control over management programs than the more externally oriented National Marine Fisheries Service. Furthermore, these policy approaches affect the development of social norms at the local level. Through a social network analysis, I demonstrate that the extent to which policy programs are integrated into the existing social networks of a village affects policy success. Hunter participation in and support for policies is stronger when there are local centers of coordination and meaningful policy deliberation. Finally, I assess existing policies regarding both species to examine whether or not contemporary policy approaches address key drivers of system change and provide effective feedback channels. Findings demonstrate that both agencies have focused on regulating harvests; I argue that in order to foster resilience of the system into the future, policy actors must reconfigure management approaches and policies towards the protection of functional seascapes. I propose two strategies in order to govern for recovery (polar bears) and resistance (bowhead whales).
  • A history and analysis of the efforts of the Ahtna people of South-Central Alaska to secure a priority to hunt moose on their ancestral lands

    Schacht, Eric; Todd, Susan; Holen, Davin; Fix, Peter (2015-08)
    The purpose of this study is to document the decades-long struggle of the Ahtna people of south-central Alaska to secure the priority to hunt moose in their ancestral lands. The study details the changes in moose hunting regulations in Game Management Unit 13 from the first permit hunt in 1960 to the current era as well as the changes in the number of hunters, number of moose harvests, and success of hunters by area of residence (local vs. non-local). This study summarizes changes in regulations regarding rural preference for subsistence hunters and the court cases challenging those provisions. It outlines the strategies the Ahtna have used over the years to try to secure a priority to hunt moose. It also discusses the importance of moose hunting to the culture of the Ahtna people and the cultural impacts of changes in subsistence harvest regulations. The results demonstrate that under the current management and regulatory structure, Ahtna people and other local residents of the Copper Basin are not getting enough moose and they persistently feel the pressure from non-local hunters. The Ahtna counter this by continually engaging the natural resource management and regulatory process, maintaining subsistence lifestyles, and increasing their wildlife management capacity so that in the future they will have more moose on their land and a greater ability to control this important aspect of their culture. The study also provides recommendations regarding future subsistence moose hunting regulations in the region.
  • State of Alaska exposure for the dismantle, removal, & restoration obligations of hydrocarbon leases in Cook Inlet: an assessment of how current mechanisms of non-bonded coverage increase this risk over time

    McIntyre, Haley (2015-05)
    This Master's of Natural Resource Management and Geography project assesses the potential liability the State of Alaska faces with the non-bonded coverage of Dismantle, Removal, and Restoration obligations associated with hydrocarbon leases on state managed lands in Cook Inlet. There are four components to this assessment. First, a Chain-of-Title spreadsheet documents the percentage of Working Interest Ownership held by all companies in study leases from the time of first production through February 2015. Second, a Degrees-of-Separation spreadsheet measures the layers of corporate separation from previous lessees to entities in existence today that could perform obligations. Third, a Special Purpose Entity spreadsheet indicates lease percentages held by companies with corporate histories of less than three years prior to assumption of a Cook Inlet lease. And four, a written opus that describes the relationships between these spreadsheets and how they demonstrate that under current mechanisms of non-bonded coverage the State of Alaska's exposure to Dismantle, Removal, and Restoration liability increases through time as the hydrocarbon reserves in the ground reach the end of productive life.
  • Developing communication tools for resource management in western Alaska: an evaluation of the Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative coastal projects database

    Warner, Nicole; Trainor, Sarah; Greenburg, Joshua; Fix, Peter (2017)
    Science communication is an essential component in decision-making for resource management in Alaska. This field aids in bridging knowledge gaps between scientists and diverse stakeholders. In 2014, the Western Alaska LCC developed a database cataloging the current coastal change projects in order to facilitate collaboration amongst researchers, managers, and the surrounding communities. In order to better inform similar outreach projects in other LCC regions, this MNRM project entailed an evaluation of this database between April and September 2016 and comprised a ten-question phone interview with the database participants and other involved personnel. Results from this evaluation can help refine the database to better suit its users' needs in the future, and it can also inform the creation of similar tools in other LCC regions. This project evaluated the use and usability of the Western Alaska LCC Coastal Change Database. First, I review coastal change and its impacts on Western Alaska. Next, I explore how institutions can respond to these changes and what resources they can use, including decision-support tools. I then provide examples of different decision-support tools (both in academic literature and in Alaskan projects) and discuss methodologies for evaluating their use. Interview results are then reported. The evaluation of the WALCC Coastal Change Database indicated that the tool was mostly used to enhance general understanding of the research occurring in the region. Respondents were less likely to use it for time-intensive tasks such as collaboration. Respondents also indicated that a place exists for tools like this database to flourish, but they need 1) persistent outreach, 2) a dynamic design, and 3) immediate benefits for users' time. In the future, regular updates and frequent outreach could improve the database's usability and help maintain its credibility.
  • Perceptions of success: a case study of planning for climate change in Shaktoolik, Alaska

    Tangen, Stefan G. (2017-12)
    Climate change planning is increasingly used in places like northwest Alaska where people are dealing with the effects of global climate change in dramatic and life altering ways. Planning for climate change often involves multiple actors from all levels of government working together with various goals, motivations, and perceptions of success. This research provides a perspective on what compelled the community of Shaktoolik to formally plan for climate change, documenting who they worked with throughout the process, the dynamics involved, and the outcomes created. I used a case study approach and qualitative methods in the form of participant observation, semi-structured interviews (n=26), and document analysis (n=18) to understand the ways in which community and non-community actors perceive successful climate adaptation planning in Shaktoolik, Alaska. I utilized seven dimensions of success from the literature to provide a framework during the data collection process and for data analysis. Due to a history of relocation in the region the community of Shaktoolik is familiar with adapting to the local environment, yet this is becoming more difficult as western infrastructure increases. In climate adaptation planning in Shaktoolik actors agreed on the roles different actors should play in planning for climate change at the community level. Additional findings include the importance of several key concepts such as social learning, social capital, leadership, and relationships among stakeholders. The climate adaptation planning model in Shaktoolik is moving in a positive direction and may be useful for other rural indigenous communities to replicate.
  • Baseline data of bird populations in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, Mexico: a citizen science approach

    Anderson, Teresa S.; Fix, Peter J.; Carsten-Conner, Laura D.; Dalle-Molle, Lois K. (2017-12)
    This project tested the viability of converting a local environmental education group, "Eco Chavos" into a team of citizen scientists. In rural biosphere reserves in Mexico, with few resources and large resident populations, community-based biological inventory and monitoring has the potential to increase the impact of Mexican biosphere reserves by generating scientific information and engaging local residents in hands-on environmental education. To test this, I formed a citizen science birding group and trained them in bird identification, survey techniques, data collection, and data management. The project began in January 2016 and in December 2016 I stopped mentoring the program and let it continue under its own leadership. Our team was composed of an Eco Chavos group and a resident ornithologist who conducted land and water-based surveys multiple times a month. As of August 2017, 160 bird species have been registered, including three species endemic to Mexico; the Crimson-collared Grosbeak (Rhodothraupis celaeno), Blue Mockingbird (Melanotis caerulescens), and Spotted Wren (Campylorhynchus gularis). The survey provided an inventory of bird diversity in the reservoir, and could serve as a starting point to measure occurrence and abundance over time. The data were published in the updated management plan of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve as well as in a new bird book, Guía de Aves de la Presa Jalpan. A new community group, "Aves de la Presa Jalpan" was formed and contributed information via an online public database. The database may be used by the international network of bird monitors to analyze population trends in both local Mexican bird populations and in international bird migrations. In addition, participants showed increased bird identification skills, leadership, increased interest in birds, and engagement in project tasks and planning. Infrastructure was built to encourage birdwatching tourism in the Biosphere Reserve and the foundation was set to continue this research in the future.
  • Why did Alaska eliminate the Alaska Coastal Management Program?

    Wilson, Ryan M.; Todd, Susan; O'Donoghue, Brian P.; Speight, Jeremy S. (2018-05)
    In 1972, the federal government passed the Coastal Zone Management Act. The federal government recognized that there is a national interest in effective management of the nation's coasts. The act created a program that made it possible for states to collaborate with the federal government to manage the nation's coastal areas and resources. In July of 2011, after thirty-two years of active participation in the program, Alaska became the only eligible state or territory to choose to no longer take part in the program. This action significantly affected Alaska's ability to manage the state's coastline and resources. This research is a qualitative case study that documents the events leading up to the establishment of the Alaska Coastal Management Program, its implementation, its elimination, and the initiative regarding its possible reinstatement. The research evaluates the current form of Alaska's coastal management practices to determine if it meets Elinor Ostrom's design principles for effective common property resource management, as well as theories on decentralization/devolution, polycentric governance, and adaptability and resilience. The research concludes that Alaska's choice to eliminate the Alaska Coastal Management Program was influenced by the interests of natural resource extraction agencies and a consequence of divisive party politics. The research finds that the effect of eliminating the Alaska Coastal Management Program was that the State of Alaska took a significant step away from what science recommends as prudent ways to manage common property resources.
  • Social dimensions of invasive plant management: an Alaska case study

    Callear, Tara L.; Fix, Pete; Brinkman, Todd; Graziano, Gino (2018-05)
    Uncertainty pervades attempts to identify an efficient management response to the threat of invasive plants. Sources of uncertainty include the paucity of data, measurement errors, variable invasiveness, and unpredictable impacts of the control methods. Rather than relying on this uncertain evidence from the natural sciences, land managers are taking a more participatory approach to invasive plant management to help alleviate risk and share the responsibility of implementation of proactive control and eradication strategies. This research is intended to contribute to this process of social learning by revealing the beliefs that determine stakeholder management preferences in a case study involving an infestation of Vicia cracca (bird vetch) affecting public lands, north of the Arctic Circle, along the Dalton Highway in Alaska. Possible encroachment of this "highly invasive" species upon vulnerable areas of high conservation significance in this rapidly changing, boreal-arctic system has motivated some stakeholders to advocate an aggressive, early response aimed at eradication using herbicides. This case study applies social-psychological theory in the study of the interactions between human behavior and human outcomes. Interior Alaska stakeholders were engaged in a survey to measure support for a scenario involving the use of herbicides to control the highly-invasive species, Vicia cracca (bird vetch), which has spread north along a road corridor north of the Arctic Circle. Respondents were asked a series of questions about the "likelihood" and "acceptability" of the possible outcomes. The survey results aligned with the expectation that attitudes predict management preference, however the beliefs that influence these attitudes were more complicated than expected. The results address the feedbacks anticipated between the human outcomes and human behavior in the social template within the broader system context that are critical to management success. The purpose is to utilize the results of this specific case study to facilitate the development of ongoing research questions that are generalizable to other affected boreal-arctic ecosystems, regionally and globally.

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