of southeast and south-central Alaska, 2004–2008: five-year forest inventory
and analysis report (PDF
- 6.26 MB)
PORTLAND, Ore. June 1, 2011. A new report published by the USDA Forest
Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station presents summaries of
current southeast and south-central Alaska forest topics, ranging
from carbon and forest products to lichens and invasive species.
Forests of Southeast and South-Central Alaska, 2004-2008,
highlights key findings from the most recent data collected by
PNW Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit. Written by a group
of 15 Forest Service, university, and nongovernmental scientists,
the report is divided
into 6 chapters and 14 summaries and is available online at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/37951 and in print by request.
Among the key findings:
The southeast and south-central region contains
12 percent of Alaska’s
forest land (over 15 million acres). “That’s an area about the
size of West Virginia,” said Glenn Christensen, an FIA analyst who
helped to write the report. “About half of the state’s productive
timberland as well as half of the state’s population is found in this
Carbon flux in Alaska’s coastal forests is substantial,
with trees there having sequestered more than 31 million tons of
carbon from the atmosphere
between 1995 to 2003 and 2004 to 2008. “That’s roughly equivalent
to the annual emissions of more than 18 million passenger cars,” said
Tara Barrett, a research forester with the station and one of the
authors of the report. Two-hundred-plus-year-old Sitka spruce forests
highest amounts of carbon, an average of 107 tons of carbon per
Over the past half century, the coastal region described
by the report has had a 2- to 3 °F increase in average annual temperature,
which could affect biomass. Forests within the region’s higher-elevation
areas had about a 7-percent increase in biomass in live trees,
but no net change was found for lower-elevation forests. Common
tree species such as
western hemlock and Sitka spruce did not show any net change, but
increases occurred for western red cedar and some pioneering hardwoods.
(lodgepole) trees had an estimated 4.6 percent decrease in biomass.
Re-measured inventory plots show no significant change for the yellow-cedar
species between 1995-1998 and 2004-2008, suggesting
that regional mortality from yellow-cedar decline was lower than
in previous decades.
More dead trees found at low elevations and more small live trees
found at high elevations also suggests that yellow-cedar species
may be “migrating,” with
population losses in some locations balanced by increases in other
Introduced or native noxious plants were present on less
than 2 percent of plots, compared to 67 percent of plots in other
parts of the United States, suggesting that the state has a window of
prevent establishment of invasive species in its forests.
Land managers, decisionmakers, and the general public will all
find this report very useful in understanding the scope and magnitude
of Alaska’s coastal forests, especially their value as a resource
to communities at local, regional, and national levels,” said Charles
Peterson, manager of the station ’s FIA unit.
The PNW-FIA unit conducts
forest inventories in California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, the
Pacific Islands, and the coastal region
of Alaska. It is one of four regional units in the research branch
of the U.S. Forest
Service comprising the national FIA Program, which annually monitors
all of the Nation’s public and private forests.
Printed copies of the
report—written by scientists from the Forest
Service’s Pacific Northwest and Rocky
Mountain Research Stations, State
and Private Forestry, and the Chugach
National Forest, as
well as researchers from The University of Montana and The Nature Conservancy—can
be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (503)
261-1211 and referencing “PNW-GTR-835.”
The PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon,
and Washington and about 425 employees.