Recent Submissions

  • Implementation of community-based natural resource management at Hustai National Park, Mongolia

    Nyamdavaa, Tsermaa; McBeath, Jennifer; Duffy, John; Drew, Elaine; Carroll, Jennifer; Finstad, Greg (2024-05)
    Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) combines scientific knowledge with community involvement to manage a variety of common pool resources (CPR) in a sustainable manner. In Mongolia, CBNRM has been implemented to manage rangelands in response to severe winters and rangeland degradation. In particular, Hustai National Park (HNP) has faced challenges due to the increased number of livestock which has led to exceeding the carrying capacity of the Buffer Zone rangelands despite efforts to implement CBNRM since 2004. The overarching question guiding the research is: How have CBNRM principles been implemented at HNP? In order to answer the research question, the research design employed the case study method, with HNP as the case. A convergent parallel design was utilized. Data collection methods consisted of survey questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and archival document reviews. Survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain data from the stakeholder groups, which consisted of HNP officials, local government officials, and herders. The research revealed that CBNRM principles have not been fully implemented for protecting the Buffer Zone rangelands. More specifically, most CBNRM principles have not been met; the use of a top-down approach has been employed; and there are conflicts between CBNRM principles and interpretations of the Mongolian Constitution. Furthermore, the research indicated that CBNRM principles have not protected the Buffer Zone rangelands, as evidence indicates the state of the Buffer Zone rangelands has moved to a degraded state between 2010 and 2020, primarily due to overgrazing. Also, the study suggests that there have been some improvements; however, CBNRM methods have generally failed to improve the livelihood of the majority of herders. Therefore, the research emphasizes the need for a more effective implementation of CBNRM principles at HNP.
  • Fire management in the face of rapid climate change: a case study of the Yukon Flats workshop

    Hicks, Abigail; Trainor, Sarah; Fix, Peter; York, Alison (2024-05)
    The management of wildfires in Alaska stands as a multifaceted social-ecological challenge without a singular, definitive solution. Due to the influence of climate change, wildfires have evolved in their behavioral patterns, prompting a reevaluation of the effectiveness of existing fire management strategies to accommodate the dynamic requirements of both ecosystems and stakeholders. During the COVID 19 pandemic in 2021, a virtual workshop entitled, "Improving Wildfire Management Decision-Making for the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge: A Workshop," brought together scientists and wildfire managers. This workshop facilitated collaborative discussions on some of the most pressing issues surrounding wildfire management plans for the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. This research assesses the efficacy and efficiency of using a virtual workshop as a platform to facilitate discussions, develop relationships, encourage knowledge transfer between a diverse group of participants, and bring together diverse stakeholders for the purpose of dissecting complex subjects for a more comprehensive understanding of the intricacies inherent to social-ecological concerns, such as wildfire management. This study analyzes one round of surveys and two rounds of interviews conducted with participants in the Yukon Flats Workshop. These surveys and interviews were instrumental in capturing insights regarding the workshop's strengths and limitations, the emergence of novel or improved interpersonal connections, the fundamental values underpinning management, and the impact of the workshop on participants' professional roles. The participants articulated numerous dimensions of the workshop that contributed to the success of communication, frequently underscoring the significance of open-minded participants, the involvement of a boundary-spanning organization, transparent articulation of workshop goals and objectives, as well as the well-organized nature of the workshop itself. However, certain challenges surfaced, with primary emphasis placed on the virtual format of the workshop, which limited informal dialogues and sidebar exchanges. Nonetheless, this research underscores that a virtual workshop, when thoughtfully executed, can serve as an effective platform for uniting fire management practitioners and scientists in discussing the intricate challenges posed by complex social-ecological issues grounded in management planning and other natural resource issues.
  • Climate security and scale: climate change risk and security as an all-scales, all-of-society challenge

    Bennett, Alec; Boylan, Brandon; Carlson, Cameron; Webley, Peter; Bennett, Katrina (2024-05)
    Climate security as an emerging field of study seeks to connect the substantial security-related challenges faced under climate change, and the ways in which climate change re-prioritizes issues at all scales of governance, and throughout all parts of society. This dissertation explores these perspectives to better understand how climate security differs from past approaches in security, and how climate change requires new paradigms to consider local, national, regional, and international assessments on risk and security. Through three papers, this dissertation assesses local approaches toward shifts in natural hazards through computational modeling, explores regional and global governance challenges that generate ethical and security concerns through attempts to mitigate climate impacts via geoengineering, and identifies current limitations on risk and security dialogues, particularly where conflict and disasters intertwine. The final paper also proposes a new conceptual model to advance approaches on assessing critical failure, the limits of mutual aid, and the assessment of "just securitization" when a referent of analysis faces significant impacts from disruptive events. This dissertation connects these issues of scale and dimensions of security to present climate security as a deeply interconnected and widely impacting issue that requires common framing and dialogues to prioritize capacity and understand limitations of future adaptation.
  • Bioavailability and chemical characterization of soil organic matter in Arctic soils

    Dai, Xiaoyan; Ping, Chien-Lu; White, Dan; Hines, Mark; Chapin, Terry; Candler, Rudy; Valentine, David (2001-08)
    The purpose of this research was to evaluate bioavailability and chemical characteristics of soil organic matter (SOM) in Arctic tundra soils. Five soil horizons in three different sites located in the Arctic Slope of Alaska were used for this research. This thesis comprises five chapters, each of which described a method that can be used to study the bioavailability and chemical characteristics of SOM in these samples. Chapter One used laboratory incubation technique to determine CO2 evolution from the soils. The cumulative CO2 respired from the samples during the incubation period was used as index of bioavailability of SOM. Chapter Two utilized cross polarization magic angle spinning (CPMAS) 13C NMR and liquid-state 13C NMR techniques to evaluate the chemical composition of SOM. Chapter Three described how pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) was used to characterize SOM. Chapter Four summarized different approaches for characterizing SOM, and Chapter Five used amino sugar contents in soils to assess the microbial contribution to SOM. The laboratory incubation study indicated that temperature had a positive effect on the CO2 evolution from these samples, and the tundra soils would have higher potential to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions with elevated temperature. Among the extractable soil organic fractions, neutrals such as hydrophilic neutrals (HIN), hydrophobic neutrals (HON) and low-molecular-weight neutrals (LMN) are more bioavailable than these such as humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA). Liquid-state and solid-state 13C NMR and Py-GC/MS techniques exhibited more potential for evaluating the relative quality of SOM compared to the wet chemical analysis method. Together with the laboratory incubation method, these techniques can be used to identify the chemical composition of SOM, and to establish correlations between the chemical composition and bioavailability of SOM. Amino sugars in soil can provide insights into the microbial contribution to SOM and to the quality and bioavailability of SOM due to their microbial origin. Bacterial-derived muramic acid and fungal-derived glucosamine can be used to differentiate between bacterial and fungal contributions to SOM. Coupled with chemical composition changes resulted from incubation at different temperatures, these results can be used to interpret the dynamics of microbial population.
  • Apple production potential in Interior Alaska within a state of amplified climatic change

    Hogrefe, Justin; Karlsson, Meriam; Zhang, Mingchu; Shipka, Milan (2021-08)
    Successful apple (Malus Domestica) tree and fruit growing have been ongoing in Alaska for over 100 years. At the outset, crabapples were the only varieties produced, but as agriculturalists, orchardists, and farmers began to experiment with grafting coldhardy rootstock with scions, new cultivars began to emerge, with varying degrees of success, throughout the state. In addition to experimental cultivars, the climate began to change, with an overall warming trend emerging. Together these variables could be the winning combination to large-scale apple orchards being started in the state of Alaska. More fruit production in the state would strengthen both the small agricultural industry and the state’s food security posture. If raw fruit products can be produced, then possibly other related business and commerce will become possible, such as production of apple cider, apple sauce, fruit leather, and preserves. The state of Washington, particularly the Eastern side, has prime apple-growing weather and climate. Of all the states, Washington produces the most apples annually. The national top ten most consumed apples are grown there. The Eastern Washington climatic region was chosen for comparison and a point of reference versus the projected interior Alaska region climate. Long-season, later-harvest apples are grown in Eastern Washington, but not in Alaska. This type of apple is valuable and desirable due to its potential for stable, long-term storage. Currently, Alaska-grown apples can be of high quality but are smaller to medium-sized, in general, and not conducive to long-term storage. Long-term storage compatible apples are desirable because that trait makes year-round apple eating possible. The purpose of this research project is to evaluate whether longer growing seasons, due to climate change, will potentially allow production, in interior Alaska, of late season apples. The analysis approach includes a combination of personal observations, literature review, climatic modeling, evaluation, and synthesis of data from multiple sources. Climatic trends and data from both past and future years were examined. Environmental variables such as atmospheric temperatures, precipitation, first and last frost dates, plant hardiness zones, and growing degree days were included in the analysis. It was found that within the next two to three decades, or sooner, with some model predictions, that the interior Alaska climate will be approaching that of Eastern Washington, although still cooler in both the winter and summer. Nevertheless, hardiness zone compatibility indicates that interior Alaska will have a climate that is conducive to growing both the shorter season apples (generally used for cider) and later-harvest, long-term storage apple varieties (mainly used for direct consumption). Interior Alaska average annual air temperatures have been slowly but steadily climbing over time, with increases evident year-round. Precipitation has also been found to be increasing, with rain in some locations during the winter (where previously there was no rainfall) melting the snow and affecting the snow coverage of an area. Rainfall has been increasing in the shoulder seasons too, affecting the growing season. Evapotranspiration has also been projected to increase, potentially nullifying the benefit of increased precipitation for natural crop irrigation purposes. With permafrost also degrading statewide, soil conditions may naturally get drier. Irrigation and on-farm water storage may prove to be a short-term method to overcome more arid environmental conditions.
  • Training the next generation of climate science integrators: lessons from the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives

    Rowles, Fiona; Trainor, Sarah; Valentine, David; Fix, Peter (2021-12)
    Science that can be readily applied to policy or decision-making is a critical component of adapting to the climate emergency. Boundary spanning facilitates the creation of credible, relevant, and legitimate science for use in policy and decision making. Individuals who are adept at navigating the interface between science and decision making (referred to as "boundary spanners") are crucial in developing science that fits the needs of managers. Though the attributes and skills needed to be an effective boundary spanner are well-defined, individuals are not often trained for these roles. This study incorporates two sets of interviews conducted with employees and affiliates of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), a boundary spanning organization that was administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service between 2010 and 2017. Participants across the LCC Network were asked which training they considered to be most effective in their role as a boundary spanner, what changes resulted from that training, and if they had been trained in co-production of knowledge or boundary spanning. Participants from the five Alaskan LCCs who attended a science communication workshop in 2015 were asked about their job tasks, science communication barriers, and goals within their LCC. Participants cited a number of different trainings that they considered to be effective. Trainings involving decision theory and peer-to-peer learning opportunities were referenced slightly more frequently than other trainings. Changes to the strategic plan and overall direction of the organization was the most often cited training outcome. Capacity (funding, time, or skills) was the most frequently cited barrier to science communication among the Alaskan LCCs. Small boundary-spanning organizations may benefit from increasing capacity by hiring individuals who already possess necessary skills, or by focusing on science translation rather than generating new science. Boundary spanners should be encouraged to access peer-to-peer learning environments and training in decision making.
  • Assessing utilitarian wildlife value orientations of Alaska residents: an urban and rural perspective

    Tracy, Quinn G. (2009-05)
    "A large body of literature supports value theory as an integral component to the management of natural resources. Value theory provides managers with an effective tool for natural resource allocation and stakeholder mitigation by predicting attitudes and behaviors of populations. This study explored the protection or use wildlife value orientation dimension of 2,264 Alaskans with an emphasis on comparing urban and rural populations, and new and long term residents. This study also investigated relationships among value orientations, demographic characteristics, and outdoor activity participation. Data were collected using a mail survey sent to a random sample of 10,003 people registered to vote in Alaska. In an effort to achieve adequate representation from rural Alaskans, the sample was stratified into five geographic regions, with a goal of receiving at least 400 returned surveys from each region. As hypothesized, rural and long term residents were more use oriented or 'utilitarian' than urban and short term residents. As hypothesized, and supported by existing literature, value orientation differences were found within gender, education, and age. Females, educated, and younger residents were more protection oriented then their counterparts. Significant relationships were found between value orientations and outdoor activity participation; however, correlations were too weak to provide predictive capabilities. Although, this study compared rural areas, with predominately Native populations, to urban areas, with predominately non-Native populations, race comparisons were not analyzed, but results signify that differences may exist. Future research should seek to validate value orientation differences by culture and race and longitudinal studies should assess shifting value changes over time"--Leaf iii
  • Factors influencing the development of wind power in rural Alaska communities

    Maynard, Jill Erin; Joly, Julie Lurman; Lovecraft, Amy; Rose, Chris; Chapin, Terry III (2010-05)
    "The state of Alaska is endowed with extensive and developable wind resources. The greatest areas of class seven, "superior" wind resources in the entire United States are located in Alaska. Developing these resources has the potential to play a pivotal role in reshaping Alaska's future by providing reliable, local, and stable-priced power. Despite this tremendous natural asset and the immeasurable benefits it harbors, Alaska's wind resources remain largely untapped and underutilized. Rural Alaskan communities, classified by their remote locations, small populations, and consequent low electric demands and high electric costs, possess some of the greatest wind resources in Alaska. The challenge, however, is to overcome the current social, political, technical, economic, and environmental constraints. This thesis aims to identify factors that contribute to and constrain the successful development of wind power projects in rural Alaska and to recommend solutions to overcome specific barriers. The findings demonstrated that the primary influencing factors included leadership, coordination at local and state levels, access to information and assistance, and local human, technical, and financial capacity. Such factors must be an integral part of planning efforts in order to advance wind power development in rural communities"--Leaf iii
  • How does improved access to clean water impact rural communities? Evaluating impact of water projects in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam district in Ghana

    Sam, Josephine-Mary O.; Todd, Susan; Anahita, Sine; Shapiro, Lewis; Chapin, F. Stuart III (2011-12)
    Research has shown that rural water programs benefit communities by promoting women's empowerment, and improving children's education and the health of residents. However, the tendency for such programs to be short-lived (as water pumps break down and villages are unable to repair them) erodes any benefits and sets villages back on the path toward using unsafe and inconvenient water sources. The incidence of failed rural water projects has prompted calls for a more holistic approach to addressing rural water supply issues. Two development organizations, the Nyarkoa Foundation (NF) and the Rural Education and Development Program (REDEP), implemented a water program in villages located in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam District of Central Region, Ghana, where earlier water programs had been unsuccessful. Using a new approach, the program focused on gender-sensitive planning, financing for maintenance and participatory governance. Through interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation, this study evaluates the impacts of the NF/REDEP water program in two villages, Ofosu and Awordo. Findings showed that improved access to clean water enhanced economic opportunities for women and children's education in both villages. There was also evidence that equitable and participatory decision-making engendered cooperation and efficient management of the water program, while exclusionist policy making led to apathy and noncompliance. However, the combined usage of the water pumps with unprotected water sources threatened to negate its health benefits, while the absence of effective women's involvement in the management of the program raised questions about its capacity to truly empower women. These findings reveal the need for increased sensitization on the risks of using unsafe water and a review of the program management approach.
  • Understanding the outcomes focused management production process: meta-analysis of the relationship between activities, settings, and the benefits of recreation participation

    Diamond, Kimberly; Fix, Peter J.; Peterson, Jen; Coker, Robert (2021-08)
    The 1958 Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, through a 1962 report, tasked federal agencies to inventory supply and demand for outdoor recreation participation. Recreation managers are progressively focusing on demand for the beneficial outcomes of recreation, but have struggled to structure planning and management models to guide decisions that optimize recreationists' ability to attain desired benefits. The Outcomes Focused Management (OFM) framework links benefits to specific activity and setting combinations, giving managers a functional role in the process of benefit production. Past studies examining the OFM's activity-setting-benefit relationship reported weak results, but suggest activity is a stronger predictor of benefit attainment than setting. A better understanding of how activity and setting inputs affect recreationists' ability to realize desired benefits is needed for continued implementation of OFM, with the aim of improving attainment rates of positive recreation outcomes. This study used meta-analytic techniques with data compiled from 16 OFM studies to replicate and expand on published work. With the goal of improving the activity-setting-benefit model, this study introduced two predictor variables, previous visitation and visitors' residential proximity to the site, controlled for the desirability of the benefit, and re-conceptualized the setting variable by testing whether study site is a better predictor of benefit attainment than different settings within a site. Two-way analysis of variance tests measured the dependence of 40 personal (PER) and household, community, economic, environmental benefits (HCEE) on activity participation and setting, using effect sizes and significance levels to compare seven models. This meta-analysis reciprocated findings of a 2004 study, failing to offer definitive evidence of linkages among recreation opportunities in the context of the models tested. Benefit items exhibiting relatively higher sensitivity to activity and setting inputs were 1) "Restore my body from fatigue" (PER), 2) "Improved respect for privately owned lands" (HCEE), 3) "Increased self-confidence" (PER), and 4) "Greater respect for private property and local lifestyles" (PER). Suggestions for future OFM studies and research on the activity-setting-benefit relationship are made, in addition to a summary of potential implications for OFM based on the findings of this study.
  • Health benefits of the hunter/gatherer lifestyle

    Coker, Melynda Sheri; Greenberg, Joshua; Brinkman, Todd; Duffy, Lawrence; Lindberg, Mark (2021-08)
    The Hunter/Gatherer Lifestyle has long been associated with positive health benefits. I measured specific metabolic parameters associated with this lifestyle, highlighting lean tissue preservation. Severe loss of lean tissue mass (LTM) (sarcopenia) is a progressive, multifactorial disease presenting with decreased functional performance, age-related bone loss, increased falls and fractures, obesity, type II diabetes mellitus, depression, hospitalization, and even mortality. Degradation of LTM, often accompanied with obesity, is cost-prohibitive emotionally, physically, and financially. To counteract LTM deterioration, a positive net protein balance (NB) must be created through increased protein synthesis or suppressed protein breakdown. I utilized isotope tracer infusion methodology to compare equivalent serving sizes of wild, freerange red meat (FR) to grain-fed commercial meat (CB) on human NB. I observed that FR elicited significantly higher NB than CB due to greater suppression of protein breakdown. I next asked if an unscripted 8-12-day Alaska expeditionary backcountry hunt (ABEH) for moose, caribou, and sheep hunters would be executed in negative energy balance and positively influence metabolic markers while maintaining LTM. I found that energy expenditure was far greater than intake and contributed to reductions in body weight, adipose tissue, serum lipids, and intrahepatic lipid, while preserving LTM. Finally, I asked if a proprietary drink with a unique amino acid formulation (EMR) similar to FR could elicit fat loss and LTM maintenance in a cohort unlikely to gain access to FR. EMR or Optifast® was provided once per day to obese, elderly individuals. With no additional manipulations and in one month, there was a net gain of thigh muscle cross-sectional area and significant reductions in total and visceral fat mass. Concluding, I sought specific metabolic outcomes derived from distinct aspects of the understudied hunter/gatherer lifestyle (i.e., FR, ABEH, EMR). I found positive influences on health which would contribute to LTM preservation during aging, decreasing individual, family, and societal burdens linked to loss of LTM. These findings provide increased emotional, physical, and financial value to the hunter/gatherer lifestyle.
  • Impacts of cover cropping and tillage on weed populations and soil nutrients in a sub-Arctic environment

    Carr, Erin L.; Zhang, Mingchu; Seefeldt, Steven; Sparrow, Stephen (2021-08)
    One of the biggest challenges for organic crop and vegetable producers is weed control. Traditional practices, such as cover cropping and tilling, aid in controlling weeds on fallow land. However, both methods can impact soil nutrient availability. For producers in sub-Arctic regions with a limited growing season, such as interior Alaska, these practices would remove valuable farm land from production for at least a year and potentially impact soil nutrients. The objective of this study was to determine cover cropping and tilling intervals that would reduce weed seedbank size without negatively influencing soil nutrient availability and taking land out of production for multiple growing seasons. A two year (2008 and 2009) study at two interior Alaska farms (UAF-AFES and Rosie Creek) measured weed density, weed seedbank size, and extractable macro and micro soil nutrients at two soil depths (0-15 cm, 15-30 cm) among seven treatments: continuous tillage (TILL), continuous cover crop (CC), tillage + middle season cover crop (TC), and cover crop + middle season tillage (CT). Two species, Hordeum vulgare L. (Albright barley) and Pisum sativum subsp. Arvense (Austrian winter field peas) were planted as cover crops. Field weed estimates were measured prior to treatment applications (tillage or planting) followed by soil core samples post treatment for weed seedbank analysis. Soil cores were collected for soil nutrient analysis at the beginning, middle and end of the growing season. In 2008 at UAF-AFES, weed density among treatments were different mid-season (p<0.05) and the subsequent growing season (p<0.05), TILL and TC treatments reduced weed populations. Weed seedbank size was different among treatments the subsequent growing season (p<0.05). In 2008 at Rosie Creek, only the subsequent growing season were there differences among treatments (p<0.05). In 2009 both study sites had no differences among treatments at any sample period. Extractable soil nutrients varied among location, year and soil depth. The highest concentrations of nitrate (NO₃-N) were measured in the tillage treatments and the lowest concentrations of NO₃-N were measured in the cover crop barley treatments (p<0.05). The research suggested that continuous tillage and tilling through the first half of the growing season has a greater impact on reducing the weed population, but can impact soil nitrate concentrations. Producers may be able to till and cover crop within one growing season, but this is highly dependent on weed density and there may be a loss of soil available nutrients for subsequent crops.
  • 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.
  • Bringing broader impacts to the community via university K-12 partnerships: growth in and seed quality of Betula neoalaskana Sargent

    Kanie, Sayako; Dawe, Janice C.; Karlsson, Meriam; Yeats, Scott (2020-05)
    Betula neoalaskana Sargent is the most abundant birch species in Alaska. All parts of the tree can be used in creating timber and non-timber products, and birch stands provide high-value ecosystem services for ecotourism and outdoor recreational purposes. For these reasons, the OneTree Alaska program of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uses Interior Alaska white birch as the centerpiece of its work. This M.S. thesis is a contribution to OneTree Alaska's goal of raising the public's understanding of the effects of Interior Alaska's lengthening growing season on the growth and reproduction of the local birch resource. Specifically, the thesis relates to the growth and reproduction of the offspring of the original "one trees" harvested on Nenana Ridge in October 2009. The saplings have been growing in the Generation OneTree Research Plot in the T-field, north of the Smith Lake on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, since June 2011 and represent half-sibling families reared from the seed of 8 maternal trees. As seedlings, they were reared for growing seasons of variable length, both by students at the Watershed Charter School of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and by OneTree personnel in a University of Alaska Fairbanks growth chamber. Prior to this study, end of year measurements had been taken of the young trees in the T-field for all but one year and established that the length of the first growing season persistently affected the number of stems and the diameter at breast height (DBH) of the main stems. New findings in this thesis show that the elevation difference among trees impacts the number of infructescences and germination rates but not the number of male catkins. At least for the 2018 seed crop, seeds from trees planted at higher elevations in the T-field showed higher germination rates than those planted at lower elevations, while they produce fewer infructescences at up slope. Other findings demonstrate that sibling family does not have an effect on either vegetative or reproductive growth. Instead, the length of the first growing season provides for a diversity of canopy shapes across sibling families. The most significant finding is the effect of elevation on female reproductive growth: It suggests a number of next steps, tools, and analysis to better understand environmental variables that work alongside elevation in determining growth and reproductive success. Soil moisture and pH (H2O), Carbon/Nitrogen ratio, Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) to determine micronutrient composition, sensors to capture wind speed/direction and solar radiation, photosynthetic traits, and chlorophyll concentration measurements could all be valuable in further elucidating the hypotheses being advanced by this research regarding the interactions between changing environment and reproduction.
  • It's so good to be back: explorations of subsistence in Alaska

    Magdanz, James; Greenberg, Joshua; Carothers, Courtney; Chapin, F. Stuart III; Goodreau, Steven (2020-05)
    This dissertation explores some aspects of contemporary hunter-gatherer economies in Alaska, with an emphasis on quantitative approaches. Written in manuscript-style, the focus is on four decades beginning about 1980, which coincided with legal recognition of hunter-gatherer activities as "subsistence," and with expanded subsistence data collection efforts. Subsistence is viewed through four theoretical frames: socio-ecological resilience, political ecology, social networks, and food security. Principles of common-pool resource management are reviewed, as are legal frames unique to Alaska that limited possible approaches to management and resulted in a fragmented management systems. In the body of the dissertation, the first article explores trends in rural community populations, wild food harvests, and personal incomes over time, identifies factors associated with subsistence harvests, models subsistence productivity, and estimates road effects on harvests and income. The second article uses household-level social network and economic data from two Iñupiat communities to explore hypotheses designed to test an assumed transition from wild food dependence to market dependence. The third article combines concepts of sensitivity and adaptive capacity drawn from vulnerability literature to explore differences in household characteristics within and between three Alaska communities. The discussion adopts a political ecology approach, introducing narrative discourses of subsistence in Alaska, comparing subsistence narrative discourses with the results the larger body of resilience, network analysis, and food security literature. It demonstrates how the same objective facts could drive competing narratives, and how resource management itself was subject to narrative construction.
  • Retrospective analysis of the Alaska halibut and sablefish individual fishing quota fisheries comparing the program with the anticipated outcomes and other limited entry fisheries

    Kotlarov, Alexander; Criddle, Keith; Greenberg, Joshua; Felthoven, Ronald; Naald, Brian Vander (2020-05)
    The Alaska Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program is one of the largest and most successful catch share programs of the United States and the world. It has been successful in maintaining the economic value and owner-operated characteristics of these fisheries for the past 25 years. While most of the federal fisheries off Alaska have already transitioned to catch-share management systems, the development of new catch share programs for other regions could benefit from lessons learned in the development and evolution of the Alaska halibut and sablefish IFQ program. One of the main concerns of the policymakers with implementing an IFQ program was the potential loss of halibut and sablefish QS held by residents of remote communities in the Central Gulf of Alaska and the Southeast Alaska regions and the resultant long-term social changes. That concern remains, along with a related concern about perceived financial barriers to entry the Alaska Halibut and Sablefish IFQ program. The resilience of fishery-dependent communities depends on the state of the available fish resources as well as the extent to which community residents are vested in the fishery through ownership of limited license permits and quota share. This thesis consists of five chapters. The first is an overall introduction, which summarizes the entire thesis, and the final chapter is an overview conclusion of the research that was conducted. The three central chapters review the history of the fishery, gauge stakeholder attitudes about aspects of the program, and explore limitations to the successful adoption of measures intended to empower community engagement in these fisheries. Chapter 2 describes the evolution of the Alaska region Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries over the past 139 years. This history can be divided into seven eras, each characterized by unique opportunities, challenges, and management innovations. The chapter shows that fluctuations in fish populations have been influenced by the interplay of management actions and environmental variation. The third chapter is a survey of Pacific Halibut and Sablefish Quota Share (QS) holders. This survey gathered information on crewmembers and operating costs in the Alaska halibut and sablefish fisheries. The results indicate that, on smaller vessels in certain areas, crewmembers tend to be drawn from the local region. In comparison, the crewmembers on larger vessels that fish in more remote areas tend to be drawn from outside those fishing areas. Results also indicate that residents of small fishing communities in remote areas had difficulty in obtaining financing to purchase QS for halibut and sablefish. In contrast, residents of larger communities expressed less concern about access to financing for QS purchases. The fourth chapter focuses on the evolution of the Alaska halibut and sablefish IFQ program. The impacts on the small communities following the transitions from open- to limited-access or share-based management were negative for some communities and positive for other communities. Over the past 16 years, several programs have been established to benefit fishery-dependent communities. Chapter 4 provides an overview of community-support measures developed for these fisheries and describes similar programs created for other Alaska region fisheries. These programs are not being fully utilized. In order to build their local fleets, communities need to increase cooperation and coordination to establish quota. Chapter 4 establishes a "roadmap" for sustaining and rebuilding community-based fisheries in Alaska. It requires the community to focus on its cooperative goals to enable them to take advantage of the community support measures included in fisheries regulation. There seems to be more interest in the younger generation in Alaska wanting to get involved in commercial fisheries. Evidence includes the popularity of the apprenticeship program developed by the Alaska Longline Association in Sitka and the keen interest in the annual Alaskan Young Fishermen Summit hosted by the Alaska Sea Grant. Rural communities could encourage the development of the next generation of fishermen by nurturing their youth's interest in fisheries and reestablishing their cultural heritage. This could be done by using the Federal halibut special permits for Ceremonial, Celebration, and Education fisheries. These permits are free and require a minimal amount of paperwork through the NOAA Fisheries Restricted Access Management program. The State of Alaska also has an educational permit program that is currently underutilized but has been successfully used in the past. Reestablished of these programs in local schools could foster youth's interest in their cultural heritage in fisheries. The positive outcome of this research is the information provided for rural communities to engage in more opportunities to generate fishing income for their community. Communities could have a real opportunity to bring commercial fisheries back into their rural areas. If the communities can navigate through all the regulations, it could provide a positive economic stimulus for the next generation of youth in their communities.
  • Stakeholder needs and information use in cryospheric hazard planning and response: case studies from Alaska

    Abdel-Fattah, Dina; Trainor, Sarah; Hock, Regine; Hood, Eran; Mahoney, Andrew (2020-05)
    The global cryosphere is experiencing rapid change, which potentially impacts the severity and magnitude of various cryospheric hazards. Alaska is home to a number of different communities that experience cryospheric hazards. These types of hazards can have potentially devastating impacts on surrounding biodiversity, communities, and infrastructure. However, there is a gap in understanding regarding what are stakeholder information needs for different cryospheric hazards, as well as what are the resources stakeholders use to meet these needs. This dissertation investigated stakeholder use of various information products and resources in three cryospheric hazard-prone communities in Alaska, which experience glacial lake outburst flood events (Juneau and the Kenai Peninsula) or anomalous high-speed sea ice motion events (Utqiaġvik). In addition, a clear need exists to understand how further cryosphere change affects cryospheric hazards. Therefore, I tested whether a structured decision-making methodology can be pertinent in a cryospheric hazard context, which has previously never been done before. Specifically, I tested whether structured decision-making can be employed by decision-makers to better understand the planning needs necessary to adequately prepare for future, but uncertain glacial surges from Bering Glacier, Alaska. I found that identifying distinct stakeholder needs as well as stakeholder use of currently available information products and resources was particularly beneficial for information providers to understand how and why their products and resources are or are not used. This opened up opportunities for existing products to be enhanced or for new products to be developed. However, one of the main findings from the case study research is that there is no single information product that meets all stakeholder needs. Different stakeholders have different information needs, which need to be addressed in different ways. The structured decision-making approach tested in this dissertation was also found to be useful and applicable in a cryospheric hazard context. It can therefore be utilized as a methodological framework by decision-makers to integrate varying stakeholder needs in such a context. The findings from this research provide a unique contribution to the literature by displaying how social science and decision analysis research can support the development of information tools and resources that are both useful and relevant to those affected by cryospheric hazards.
  • 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.

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