Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Tara M. BarrettAndrew N. Gray
    Date: 2011
    Source: Biological Conservation. 144: 1285-1294
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (1.19 MB)

    Description

    Broad-scale monitoring in Alaska has become of increasing interest due to uncertainty about the potential impacts of changing climate on high-latitude ecosystems. The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program is a national monitoring program for all public and private forestlands in the US, but the program is not currently implemented in the boreal region of Alaska. We provide an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the FIA system for monitoring the potential impact of climate change on Alaska's species, communities, and ecosystems. The primary strength of the system is a scientifically rigorous design-based statistical estimation method that produces estimates of forest attributes with known sampling error and quantifiable measurement error. The weaknesses of the system include low power for small area estimates, lack of spatial context and contiguity, and difficulty in inferring causality of factors when changes in monitored attributes are detected. Climate change is expected to impact many components of boreal ecosystems, but for most indicators the direction and magnitude of change are difficult to predict because of complex interactions among system components. Status and trend information provided by FIA monitoring that could be helpful to conservation decisions includes abundance and rarity of vascular plants, invasive species, biomass and carbon content of vegetation, shifting vegetation species distribution, disturbance frequency, type, and impact, and wildlife habitat characteristics. Because of unique factors such as the low level of infrastructure, modifications to the FIA monitoring system used in the conterminous US have been proposed for Alaska. Remote sensing data would play a greater role in meeting monitoring objectives, and sampling intensity of field plots would be reduced. Coordination with other national, regional, and local monitoring efforts provides potential for increased understanding of change in boreal ecosystems at multiple scales.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to pnw_pnwpubs@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Barrett, Tara M.; Gray, Andrew N. 2011. Potential of a national monitoring program for forests to assess change in high-latitude ecosystems. Biological Conservation. 144: 1285-1294.

    Keywords

    boreal forests, forest monitoring, regional monitoring, national forest inventory

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page