Current conservation programs
Beginning in 1989, DU has worked with key agency partners to delineate landcover types across interior Alaska. Initial work was cooperative with the BLM and centered in the Gulkana and Iliamna Basins, as well as the Black and Innoko River watersheds. Ducks Unlimited and the BLM have developed a sampling protocol that is now accepted as an Alaska-statewide earth cover procedure. This protocol utilizes extensive field verification with helicopters to increase accuracy assessment of final products. Partnerships with the NPS, the U.S. Air Force, the Alaska Fire Service, the USFWS will have helped map over 40,486,000 ha of landcover in Alaska by 2000. All of the landcover areas have digital map products and ten manuscripts (which describe boreal landscapes and waterbird usage) have been published in the last six years.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been developed for a number of western boreal landcover data sets. A demonstration CD has been prepared for the Western Boreal Forest and used for resource training. Various spatial data have been analyzed with landcover type and include: (1) boreal fire history with landcover type; (2) hydrography; (3) change detection; (4) macro-habitat selection by various waterfowl species; (5) carrying capacity and landcover selection by moose and caribou, and; (6) successional vegetation modeling. Specific research projects to date have focused on breeding ecology of lesser scaup and Barrow’s goldeneye.
Coordination with efforts in western boreal Canada includes cross training of U.S. and Canadian resource managers. DUC biologists will oversee all field efforts in Canada with a DU remote-sensing analyst. DUC will not duplicate a boreal GIS staff. Products will have similar protocols across borders and the western boreal initiative can truly be a linked international effort.