Succession describes a forest’s growth from its emergence to becoming old growth. Check out the Succession illustration below for a diagram of the process.

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Beavers by the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska

A great introduction to one of our keystone species, in the fascinating setting of the recently deglaciated upper Mendenhall Valley. This delightfully illustrated, 60-page book has been available in local bookstores for several years. Now Bob and Mary have generously made it available for free.  Readers will come away with an appreciation for the entire ecosystem in addition to a much deeper understanding of beavers.

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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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Glacial Rebound in the Mendenhall Wetlands

This report contains GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping and analysis for the Mendenhall Wetland State Game Refuge.  You’ll find information on glacial rebound, vegetation types, tidal elevations, and glacial rebound, all supported by GIS maps and detailed photographs.  Conservation value for the land is also discussed.

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Lichens around Mendenhall Glacier

This book will leave you likin’ our more obscure local fauna.  You’ll learn as much about habitat and local interactions as you will about lichen–and there’s a lot to learn about lichen.

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Mendenhall Glacier: Aerial Perspectives

This booklet of maps and images spanning the past century shows the Mendenhall Glacier’s retreat and the forest succession, while also providing information on the area’s geology.  The Mendenhall Glacier was the destination selected by the Glacier habitat group of the STREAM: Pedagogy of Place Institute, July 17-19, 2013.  You’ll find information about bedrock geology and surficial geology, and you’ll also find historical photographs of the Mendenhall.

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Natural History of Dzantik’i Heeni Loop Trail

This guide to the Dzantik’i Heeni Loop Trail is part of a series by Richard Carstensen on Juneau watersheds.  As you walk along the trail, the guide highlights 14 points of interest illuminating local tributaries, forest succession, and recent changes after construction of Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School.

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Natural History of Treadwell Mine Historic Trail

This guide to Douglas Island’s Treadwell Mine area is part of a series by Richard Carstensen on Juneau watersheds. The guide’s 11 stations follow an unusual forest succession, as nature reclaims an area altered by its mining history.

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Spring 2011 Newsletter, Geology and life: Connections between the living and non-living world

In this newsletter, Richard Carstensen seeks to answer a seemingly simple question: how do living things respond to geologic landforms and rock types?  His essay explores the interactions between living and non-living things in Southeast Alaska.  You will also find Discovery News, and a short write-up by Scott Burton on the popular trail game Camouflage.

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Succession illustration

This info sheet explains how a forest changes as it matures from emerging forest to old growth.
Download info sheet here (330 KB):PDF_Download     Or, flip through the images below to see five stages of forest succession!


Alternate successional pathways

This 5-part slide show takes several repetitions to fully digest. The blocks represent an acre, about 200 feet on a side. Since spruces can reach 200 feet on stream deposits, an alluvial forest acre could be visualized as a cube 200 feet on a side. As you watch the trees rise and fall (to flooding and logging), notice that the upper, streamside forest never enters the shady, depauperate understory stage so dreaded by wildlife ecologists.

[1867-2017] 150 Years of Change


1867_2017 from Richard Carstensen on Vimeo.

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Presentation for the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, in the sesquicentennial year of Seward’s purchase. Visualizations of 3 iconic Juneau landscapes as they appeared in 1867, and today (2017). For more background, download the pdf 1867-2017.