From the Pacific Islands to Alaska
The Pacific Northwest Research Station Anchorage Forestry Sciences Lab is fortunate to be hosting two state foresters from the Pacific Islands for a five-week intensive training program with the Forest Inventory and Analysis program in Anchorage, Alaska. This opportunity, funded by the Micronesia Conservation Trust in the Federated States of Micronesia, is a unique way to build the knowledge base of forest inventory research in the Pacific Islands to further the goal of creating a self-sustaining forest inventory program in that region.
During this internship, which will end the first week of June, both of these foresters will train in the field and classroom alongside AFSL’s incoming field staff to gain an in-depth understanding of FIA data. Trainings will comprehensively teach field data collection protocols as well as covering how FIA data is commonly used and how to gather data from the FIA database.
The two foresters, Lajkit Rufus and Eugene Eperiam, will also have an opportunity to travel to Fairbanks and work with the Alaska state forester to learn more about the management of local forestry programs.
This internship opportunity will improve existing partnerships between the Anchorage Forestry Sciences Lab and the governments of both RMI and FSM. FIA is planning a forest inventory of RMI to begin in January 2018, and looks forward to the continued assistance of both Rufus and Eperiam in this and future projects.
Lajkit Rufus has traveled to Anchorage from Majuro, the capital of the island nation of The Republic of the Marshall Islands. RMI, located halfway between Hawaii and Australia, spans over 29 atolls covering 180,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean. As the state forester for the Ministry of Resources and Development in RMI, Rufus manages programs in Urban and Community Forestry, Forest Stewardship, and Forest Health. Rufus is interested in using FIA data to monitor the condition and quantity of RMI’s terrestrial resources, particularly to evaluate issues of food security, economic value of agriculturally important forest species, and erosion control by coastal mangroves.
Eugene Eperiam has traveled from the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. Located approximately 500 miles west of RMI, FSM comprises four separate island states spanning 1,700 miles of the Pacific Ocean. Eperiam grew up on Pohnpei, where he manages the State Division of Forestry Program. Over the past year, he has worked for the Micronesia Conservation Trust to collect FIA data on 93 permanent plots scattered across all four of FSM’s states for the Micronesia Challenge Terrestrial monitoring program. Eperiam is particularly interested in using FIA remeasurement data to explore changes in the percent cover of invasive species over the past 10 years.