Devotion to the future

“ ‘Sustainable growth’ is a self-contradictory term–an oxymoron. Continued, indefinite growth on this planet or any subset of the planet is a physical impossibility. Eventually, limits of some type (space, food, waste disposal, energy) must be reached; the point at which that will happen is the only aspect open to debate. . . . [Humans must] live on the income from nature’s capital rather than on the capital itself.”

G. Meffe and R. Carroll, Principles of Conservation Biology.

Young, post disturbance forests (checked here) are more suitable for human use than the ancient cedar types, lower right, that dominate today’s timber program.

Young, post disturbance forests (checked here) are more suitable for human use than the ancient cedar types, lower right, that dominate today’s timber program.


In 2005, Bob Christensen, Kenyon Fields and I started the Ground-truthing Project–what we called the ‘eyes and ears in the woods for the Southeast conservation community.’ Central to that project was learning what parts of our environment are most and least susceptible to human use.

My engagement in the Ground-truthing Project lasted through 2009. For Bob, however, that was just the beginning. For a taste of what he’s been up to lately, visit his website for the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, promoting resource stewardship, energy independence, food sustainability, economic self-reliance, and storytelling in Hoonah, Hydaburg, Kake, Kasaan and Sitka.

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Alexander Archipelago Wolves

This short piece from the Alaska Wildlife Alliance gives an overview of the challenges faced by the wolves of the Alexander Archipelago by logging, hunting, and human expansion.

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Documenting change through repeat photography in Southeast Alaska

This report highlights historical photographs of Southeast Alaska from a variety of archives.  It focuses on repeat photography, the act of retaking historical photos and juxtaposing them with the originals in order to see changes in the land over time.  Not only does this report cover most of Southeast Alaska, it also offers insights into the past and future of photographic documentation.

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Habitat Use of Amphibians in Northern Southeast Alaska

This is a study of six amphibian species in Southeast Alaska.  In this study you will find detailed information on population numbers and habitats.  You will also find analyses of pond origin types, and amphibian natural history observations.  Amphibian populations are in danger across North America, and this study lays an important foundation for future studies on toads, frogs, salamanders, and newts in Southeast.

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Landmark Trees Project – Kake

This is an interpretive guide for the Hamilton Forest, a landmark tree area near Kake.  You will find descriptions of individual trees, a list of plant species, a brief natural history of the region, maps, diagrams, and more.

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Landmark Trees Project – Sitka

This Landmark Trees project report from Sitka, AK covers the Gavan Forest.  Part one of the report is a tree-by-tree description of the forest, and part two gives context for big tree forests across the region.

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Our dynamic home: Southeast Alaska then and now

In this half-hour video of still photography, Richard Carstensen looks at a rich archive of historical aerial photos taken in 1948 for mapping purposes, and compares them to present day images of Southeast Alaska communities. The result illuminates not only how the natural areas have changed, but also how our communities have changed.

From Richard:

In 2011, Cathy Pohl and I [Richard Carstensen] received a drive with 22,000 scanned air photos taken by the Navy in 1948. For the first time, cartographers and researchers in Southeast Alaska could efficiently access this extraordinary collection, studying natural and anthropogenic change in photos spanning 60 years. To celebrate, I created this 35-minute narrated slideshow comparing the 30-or-so Southeast communities, then and now.