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Seaton C.T.,Alaska Department of Fish and Game | Paragi T.F.,Alaska Department of Fish and Game | Boertje R.D.,Alaska Department of Fish and Game | Kielland K.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | And 2 more authors.
Wildlife Biology | Year: 2011

We present methodology for assessing browse removal to help evaluate resource limitation among moose Alces alces populations in large, potentially remote areas of boreal forest. During 2000-2007, we compared proportional removal (ratio of browse consumption to browse production) in eight areas of Interior Alaska, USA, with multi-year twinning rates of the respective moose populations. Several prior studies concluded that twinning rate provided an index of the nutritional condition of moose. We theorized that a plant-based sampling of proportional use of browse by moose in late winter would inversely correlate with the nutritional condition of moose. We sampled willow Salix spp., quaking aspen Populus tremuloides, balsam poplar P. balsamifera and Alaska paper birch Betula neoalaskana, i.e. plants with current annual growth (CAG) between 0.5 and 3.0 m above ground. We estimated the biomass of CAG and biomass removed by moose based on bite diameters and diameter-mass regressions specific to each browse species. Mean browse removal by moose varied among study areas from 9 to 43% of CAG. Moose twinning rate (range: 7-64%) was inversely correlated with proportional browse removal by moose (Spearman's rho = -0.863, P < 0.005). Proportional browse removal appeared useful in linking foraging ecology and population dynamics of moose in Alaska, and the technique may be used to quantify resource limitation in moose populations inhabiting boreal forest in a broader geographic region. © Wildlife Biology, NKV. Source

Brinkman T.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Maracle K.B.,Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments | Kelly J.,Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments | Vandyke M.,Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments | And 2 more authors.
Ecology and Society | Year: 2014

Most rural residents in Arctic communities rely on motorized transportation to hunt, fish, trap, and gather subsistence resources. Although these technologies have created advantages, one significant disadvantage is that peoples’ ability to meet their nutritional and cultural needs now depends on consistent opportunities for wage employment and availability of affordable fuel. Recent qualitative research suggested that rising fuel prices have disrupted subsistence lifestyles in the Arctic. Our objectives were to collaborate with subsistence users in rural Alaskan communities to quantify how rising fuel costs have impacted subsistence activities and explore ways local residents may adapt to the trajectory of change. We conducted interviews with 178 subsistence harvesters in 8 communities. During the last 10 years, 81% of the harvesters reduced the distance they traveled for subsistence and 89% reduced the number of subsistence trips they took because of gasoline costs. During the last 10 years, the median distance traveled to perform subsistence decreased by 60%, and the median annual number of trips taken to perform subsistence decreased by 75%. The change in subsistence activity was similar across and within communities. Eighty-five percent of the people interviewed reported that they were making sacrifices with serious consequences, such as putting off paying monthly bills, to buy gasoline for subsistence activities. To adapt to high gasoline prices, most participants said that they are using more efficient modes of transportation (69%), followed by more sharing of gasoline costs with family and friends (37%), and conducting more multipurpose subsistence trips (20%). With subsistence practices being critical to food security and cultural identity in the Arctic, our results suggest that unaffordable fuel has threatened social resilience. Because global markets drive gasoline prices, we suggest that future research focus on the effectiveness of adaptation options that build resilience into subsistence systems. © 2014 by the author(s). Source

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