• Birch, Berries, And The Boreal Forest: Activities And Impacts Of Harvesting Non-Timber Forest Products In Interior Alaska

      Maher, Kimberley Anne C.; Juday, Glenn P.; Barber, Valerie; Gerlach, S. Craig; Watso, Annette (2013)
      Harvesting wild berries, firewood, and other non-timber forest products (NTFPs) from the boreal forest in Interior Alaska is a common activity amongst local residents. NTFPs are harvested for personal use, subsistence, and commercial purposes. While these activities contribute to informal household economies and livelihoods, harvest of NTFPs are not well documented in Alaska. Availability of these ecosystem services may be altered under changing management and climate regimes. This interdisciplinary dissertation takes a look at the activities and impacts of current NTFP harvesting practices. Survey results from a forest use survey provide insight into harvest activity in the Tanana Valley. Wild blueberries (38.5% of households with mean harvested amount of 7.7 quarts) and firewood (25.0% of households with a mean harvest amount of 4.7 cords) were reported harvested with greatest frequency, and harvesting activities were mostly concentrated around larger population centers. Interviews were conducted with personal use and subsistence NTFP harvesters from Interior Alaska. Participants enjoy harvesting from the forest, and that the importance of harvesting is a combination of both the intangible benefits from the activity and the tangible harvested items. Harvested NTFPs were seen as high-quality products that were otherwise unavailable or inaccessible. Birch syrup is a commercially available NTFP produced in Alaska by a small number of companies. Similar to maple syrup, producing birch syrup is a labor intensive process with marginal profits. Interviews were conducted with workers in the Alaskan birch syrup industry, who reported that they were seeking an alternative to the traditional employment. The effects from mechanical damage from tapping for spring sap on birch's vigor are of concern to birch syrup producers and natural resource managers. This study compared the annual increment growth of Alaskan birch trees, Betula neoalaskana, between tapped and untapped trees. No significant difference was detected from tapping, but annual variability in growth was strongly significant. A temperature index accounted for nearly two-thirds of the annual variability. Pairing this index with two climate scenarios, birch growth was extended out through the 21st century. As temperatures rise, birch in Interior Alaska are projected to face a critical threshold, which may limit or extinguish their ability to sustain growth and yield a sustainable sap resource. Integrating the survey, interview, and dendroclimatological data provides a richer picture of how NTFP harvesters actively use the forest and about the benefits derived. These findings can assist resource managers in balancing these needs with those of other forest uses on public land.
    • 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).
    • Ocean Wilderness In Theory And Practice

      Barr, Bradley W.; Kruse, Gordon; Kliskey, Andrew; Alessa, Lilian; Koester, David (2012)
      Wilderness preservation has been an important focus of resource conservation since the dwindling number of wild places was perceived by some as losing a valued part of our collective natural and cultural heritage. While wilderness preservation efforts have been almost entirely focused on the land, recently there has been growing interest in "ocean wilderness." However, implementation has been constrained by the lack of a common vision of how "wilderness" is applied to the ocean, and how such areas should be managed and preserved. The purpose of this work was to identify and evaluate potential definitions of ocean wilderness and the values and qualities such areas possess, and to determine how they might be effectively identified and managed to preserve their wilderness character. This research focused on articulating a robust definition for "wilderness waters," within the context of how wilderness is currently conceived and articulated in law and policy, as well as evaluating how such areas might be most appropriately identified and managed. Extensive inventories were conducted of existing ocean wilderness areas, focused on North America, to determine what currently exists, how these areas are managed, and how future ocean wilderness designations should be prioritized. A survey was conducted, targeting resource managers and scientists, to identify preferences and perceptions of ocean wilderness and its potential stewardship. The survey results suggested that coastal waters possessed considerable values and qualities of wilderness, particularly areas adjacent to existing designated wilderness, that certain human uses might be appropriately permitted, and that there was much support for expanding the area of coastal waters designated as wilderness. The research also suggested that the North American Arctic might offer many opportunities for preserving ocean wilderness, in close collaboration with the Indigenous communities in this region. A number of recommendations were offered including that priority should be given to evaluating and designating areas adjacent to designated coastal wilderness areas, that the existing legal and policy framework in North America can be effectively used to expand the "wilderness waters" system, and that more work needs to be done to build the constituencies of support essential to accomplish this task.
    • Policy And Market Analysis Of World Dogfish Fisheries And An Evaluation Of The Feasibility Of A Dogfish Fishery In Waters Of Alaska, Usa

      Gasper, Jason R.; Kruse, Gordon; Greenberg, Joshua; Fong, Quentin; Miller, Marc (2011)
      Spiny dogfish is a valuable commodity on the world market and has a global capture distribution. There are three chapters evaluating dogfish markets and fisheries in this dissertation; Chapter 2 evaluates the spatial distribution of dogfish in the Gulf of Alaska; Chapter 3 provides an overview of world markets and evaluates conditions that have led to a decline in dogfish product demand in Europe; and Chapter 4 uses the information from the previous 2 chapters to provide and policy and market overview of dogfish fisheries in Alaska. Results from this study provide a comprehensive world overview of the modern dogfish fisheries and market segmentation using an evaluation of trade and price statistics. These results indicate that the dogfish market is adulterated, supplied by both sustainable and non-sustainable dogfish sources. Media attention resulting from overfishing has reduced demand for dogfish products in Europe due to the adulterated market. Overcoming the loss of market share will require eco-labeling to inform consumers about sustainable dogfish stocks. The impact of eco-labeling in Asian countries is less clear due to unknown inter-Asian market channels for fins and meat and little information on consumer attitudes towards labels. Alaska products could leverage either Asian or European consumers, but a profitable fishery will likely require regulatory changes and improved stock assessment to allow a directed fishery. In addition, pending regulatory changes, establishing robust market channels between Alaska and Europe will likely require some form of eco-labeling; especially given current eco-labeling efforts in Canada and the Atlantic US.
    • Regulating Hunting: Subsistence And Governmentality In The Central Kuskowkim Region, Alaska

      Vanek, Susan B.; Koester, David (2010)
      This paper explores the expansion of the state into formerly ungoverned aspects of life through an examination of one particular episode of intervention, that of moose hunting regulation in the Central Kuskokwim region of Alaska. As in most struggles over wild resources in the state, subsistence is a central organizing template. Local hunters residing in the villages of Aniak and Crooked Creek, interviewed for this work, identify themselves under the label of subsistence in opposition to others, often called "sport hunters". The felt presence of the state in this and other rural areas of Alaska has increased throughout the 20th century and the prevalence of the word subsistence in these disputes is tied to its status as a legal term, dictating how individuals must identify their practices and thus themselves, at the expense of other identifications. The persistence of subsistence indicates governmentality in discourse but not in meaning.
    • Survey Of Bombus Species (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Near Agricultural Lands In Interior Alaska

      Pampell, Rehanon; Holloway, Patricia; Knight, Charles; Sikes, Derek; Pantoja, Alberto (2010)
      Major world pollinators include bees, beetles, flies, butterflies, birds and bats, all of which help pollinate over 75% of Earth's flowering plant species and nearly 75% of the crops. In arctic and subarctic regions, bumble bees are considered important pollinators; however, immediate concerns involving climate change, colony collapse disorders in honey bees, and lack of faunistic insect studies in Alaska emphasize the need to study bumble bees in interior Alaska. I identified seventeen species of bumble bees from three localities: Delta Junction, Fairbanks, and Palmer, Alaska. Not all species were recovered from all localities and species richness and relative abundance varied by years. Delta Junction displayed the highest relative bumble bee abundance representing approximately 50% of the overall total of bumble bees collected during the two year study. Overall, the most common bumble bees near agricultural lands were B. centralis, B. frigidus , B. jonellus, B. melanopygus, B. mixtus, and B. occidentalis. Their populations and local diversity were highly variable from year to year. A species believed to be in decline in the Pacific North West states, B. occidentalis , was collected in relative abundance up to 13.5%; this species was collected from the three sites studied. Preliminary data indicates that bumble bees were found to be infected by Nosema and nematodes with infection rates up to 12.5 and 16.7% for Nosema and nematodes respectively. Of the eight species infected by parasites, B. occidentalis displayed the highest Nosema infection, while B. centralis was the species with the highest infection of nematodes.
    • The Influence Of Estuarine Habitats On Expression On Life History Characteristics Of Coho Salmon Smolts In South-Central Alaska

      Hoem Neher, Tammy D.; Rosenberger, Amanda; McPhee, Megan; Mueter, Franz; Zimmerman, Christian (2012)
      Expression of traits that lead to life history diversity in salmonids may provide population-level resilience and stability in dynamic environments. I examined habitat use and variability in life history trait expression in juvenile coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch occupying two contrasting estuary environments in south-central Alaska. My goal was two-fold: first, to determine if salmon were using estuaries as rearing environments and were therefore potentially vulnerable to selection pressures within; and second, to compare traits of salmon that reared in contrasting estuary environments to explore the potential for differential trait expression related to estuary size and habitat complexity differences. Juvenile coho salmon reared in estuaries for extended periods of time and patterns of use corresponded to environmental conditions within the estuaries. Populations using adjacent but contrasting estuary environments exhibited differential trait expression and were genetically distinct. My work highlights how pristine, functioning estuary habitats contribute to resilience of salmon populations to environmental changes in two ways: first, by providing habitats for individuals to increase in size and condition prior to ocean entry; and second, by providing for alternative life history tactics (providing quality habitat to delay marine entry times and increase body size). Management approaches for resilient salmon runs must therefore maintain both watershed and estuary function.