If you’re a Pacific Northwest Research Station scientist inventorying forests in interior Alaska, then your daily commute at the moment crisscrosses a remote area the size of Arkansas. This vastness—and the fact that much of the 53,500-square-mile initial study area is not reachable by road—means that forest access must often come by air.
Helicopter travel is just one aspect of doing inventory work—where trees, living and dead; understory plants; and pieces of downed wood are sampled on a grid of one forest plot about every six miles—in interior Alaska. The Arkansas-sized Tanana Unit is the first of six in interior Alaska that PNW-FIA will inventory as part of its new Interior Alaska Forest Inventory and Analysis Project, one that will ultimately help estimate the region’s biomass stock and determine whether its forests are a carbon source or sink.
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