• Chapter 6: Vegetation

      Berman, Matthew; DeVelice, Robert; Hollingsworth, Teresa Nettleton; Bella, Elizabeth; Carlson, Matthew L.; Clark, Paul; Barrett, Tara; Hayward, Gregory D.; Lundquist, John; Magness, Dawn Robin; et al. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2016)
      This assessment evaluates the effects of future climate change on a select set of ecological systems and ecosystem services in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and Chugach National Forest regions. The focus of the assessment was established during a multi-agency/organization workshop that established the goal to conduct a rigorous evaluation of a limited range of topics rather than produce a broad overview. The report explores the potential consequences of climate change for: (a) snowpack, glaciers, and winter recreation; (b) coastal landscapes and associated environments, (c) vegetation, (d) salmon, and (e) a select set of wildlife species. During the next half century, directional change associated with warming temperatures and increased precipitation will result in dramatic reductions in snow cover at low elevations, continued retreat of glaciers, substantial changes in the hydrologic regime for an estimated 8.5 percent of watersheds, and potentially an increase in the abundance of pink salmon. In contrast to some portions of the Earth, apparent sealevel rise is likely to be low for much of the assessment region owing to interactions between tectonic processes and sea conditions. Shrubs and forests are projected to continue moving to higher elevations, reducing the extent of alpine tundra and potentially further affecting snow levels. Opportunities for alternative forms of outdoor recreation and subsistence activities that include sled-dog mushing, hiking, hunting, and travel using across-snow vehicles will change as snowpack levels, frozen soils, and vegetation change over time. There was a projected 66-percent increase in the estimated value of human structures (e.g. homes, businesses) that are at risk to fire in the next half century on the Kenai Peninsula, and a potential expansion of invasive plants, particularly along roads, trails, and waterways.
    • Copper River Salmon Habitat Management Study

      Lowe, Marie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      In 2006, Ecotrust commissioned the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage to conduct a study on land managers’ perceptions of salmon habitat management in the Copper River Watershed (CRW). ISER interviewed 20 managers from 10 organizations representing Federal agencies (BLM, USACE, USFS, USFWS), State of Alaska agencies (ADFG, DEC, DNR) and Alaska Native Corporations (AHTNA, EYAK). The study was conducted to examine managers’ perceptions about the current status of watershed management with regard to health of salmon populations. By interviewing resource managers, the research was conducted to determine threats to salmon habitat and to expose the most vulnerable geographic areas of the watershed, examine potential goals for long-term management, isolate the identities of key individuals who can influence the success of long-term management and enforcement of regulations, ascertain possible changes that could be made to current management plans, and identify the most effective political tools for effective management of salmon habitat within the watershed. The research was conducted to answer the following questions: 1. What are the economic, political and social impediments to the immediate and long-term effective management of wild salmon and their habitat from the perspective of fishery managers? 2. How can these impediments be mitigated in the future?
    • A Village Fish Processing Plant: Yes or No?

      Knapp, Gunnar (2001)
      People in many Alaska villages are interested in starting fish processing plants. A fish processing plant can provide markets for fishermen, processing jobs and income for village residents, and many other benefits. But starting and operating a village fish processing plant is not easy, and fish processing plants may not work in every village. This handbook is to help you get started in planning a fish processing plant in your village. It can help you think clearly about whether or not you should start a fish processing plant. It provides step-by-step advice about questions you need to ask and decisions you need to make. As part of this handbook, we have included case studies of experiences some western Alaska villages have had with fish processing plants. These may give you ideas of things to do–and things to avoid–when you are thinking about a fish processing plant for your village.
    • What's the Economic Importance of Alaska's Healthy Ecosystems?

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2001)
      About one quarter of Alaska’s jobs depend in one way or another on the state's fish, wildlife, scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and public lands. That’s a rough estimate of what healthy ecosystems contribute to the economy. Salmon and other natural assets depend on habitat, clean water, and other benefits from Alaska’s ecosystems.2 Those natural assets in turn support jobs—about 84,000, once we adjust for some double-counting across industries. We include only jobs that depend on healthy ecosystems and natural assets and that are sustainable year after year. About half the ecosystem-related jobs rely on commercial, sport, and subsistence harvests of fish and wildlife. Tourism, recreation, and government management of public lands and resources support the other half. Another way of measuring the economic importance of Alaska’s ecosystems is what economists call “net willingness to pay.” That’s an estimate of how much more Americans would be willing to pay—besides what they already spend— to maintain Alaska’s natural assets. That method allows economists to assign a dollar value to things like scenery. Why would we want to put an economic value on such intangibles? It’s a useful way of show- ing that—aside from other kinds of value—Alaska’s healthy ecosystems have enormous economic value. Our ability to estimate net (or additional) willingness to pay for ecosystem benefits does vary, depending on what’s being valued.