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    Author(s): Sean M.P. CahoonOlaf KueglerGlenn A. Christensen
    Date: 2020
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-979. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 73 p.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (26.0 MB)


    This report highlights key findings from the most recent 10-year survey of Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data collected across southeast and south-central Alaska and represents the first full remeasurement of all forest plots in the coastal Alaska inventory unit. Estimates of forest area, stand age, volume, aboveground biomass, and carbon are provided across ownerships, forest types, and species throughout the region. Of the 54 million ac in the inventory unit, approximately 15 million ac (28 percent) were considered forest land, most of which is managed by Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska. Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), mountain hemlock (T. mertensiana), Alaska yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis), and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) forest types dominate the region, together accounting for 75 percent of total forest area and 86 percent of total aboveground biomass. Understory vegetation was dominated by oval leaf blueberry, rusty menziesia, and bunchberry dogwood, while nonforest areas were dominated by tall and dwarf shrub community types characterized by Sitka alder (Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata), salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), and sweet gale (Myrica gale). Over the 10-year remeasurement cycle (1995–2003 to 2004–2013), net change in forest volume was mostly positive, with the exception of privately owned lands, where timber removals exceeded growth. Among softwood species, only lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) (also known as shore pine) displayed a net loss in biomass, while mountain hemlock, Sitka spruce, western redcedar (Thuja plicata), and all hardwood species exhibited a net increase in biomass. Mortality rate was highest for white spruce (P. glauca), likely driven by a large spruce bark beetle outbreak in the late 1990s. However, white spruce also experienced a higher growth rate than other softwood species, perhaps reflecting a growth release among survivors of the beetle attack. This report serves as an updated version to the forest attribute data summarized by Barrett and Christensen (2011) and provides important insight into forest resources for land managers, industry, and researchers.

    Supplemental Download - Coastal Alaska’s forest resources, 2004–2013:

    Appendix 1:
    Appendix 2:

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • 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.


    Cahoon, Sean M.P.; Kuegler, Olaf; Christensen, Glenn A., tech. eds. 2020. Coastal Alaska’s forest resources, 2004–2013: Ten-year Forest Inventory and Analysis report. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-979. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 73 p.


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    Biomass, carbon, coastal Alaska, FIA, invasive plants, timber industry, understory vegetation, volume.

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