Interior Alaska Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Underway
After years on the drawing board, a comprehensive effort to fully inventory the vast expanses of boreal forest in Interior Alaska is underway. Interior Alaska represents approximately 15 percent of forested land in the entire United States but has never been completely inventoried. The Interior Alaska Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) project is slowly changing that. The project completed an initial inventory of over 1,180 forested plots in the Tanana Valley and Susitna-Copper watersheds from 2014 – 2020. This summer, interagency State of Alaska Division of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service field crews will be based in Lake Minchumina (July 28 – August 20) and McGrath (August 21 – September 8) while working in the surrounding forests.
Crews collect information at each plot on a variety of tree variables (species, diameter, height, and damage from insects or disease). They also collect data on the presence and cover of other vegetation species and ground cover groups (lichens and mosses), coarse and fine woody materials, invasive species presence, soils, and disturbance. This data will be used along with remote sensing data collected by NASA to answer large-scale questions related to forest biomass and carbon, species distribution and change, fire effects and recovery, impacts from insects and disease, and many others.
“While we will be social distancing and isolating ourselves as a family unit this season, we look forward to next summer when we can return to McGrath and the surrounding region with the opportunity to fully engage with the communities,” said Kate Legner, U.S. Forest Service’s Interior Alaska data collection coordinator.
For more information, contact Kevin Breitenbach, coordinator, Division of Forestry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-328-8065 or Kate Legner, coordinator, U.S. Forest Service at email@example.com or 907-242-8716.