INVENTORY: Biodiversity inventories produce baseline data that provide reference for studies addressing ecosystems and ecosystem change, and that reveal the degree to which habitats are affected by invasive species, habitat degradation and climate change. Despite their recognized value, there is a paucity of baseline data for many sensitive regions. This is especially true of Southeast Alaska, which is home to the largest tract of rare, northern temperate rainforest and is one of the few great fjord regions on the planet.
The CCC will institute a broad and inclusive inventory program that focuses on species, abundance and distribution, as well as the physical and chemical properties of their habitat.
MONITOR: Long-term monitoring projects allow scientists to track and make robust projections about environmental change, and can point to areas of concern where further research is needed. In Southeast Alaska, where many communities depend on a healthy environment, it is vital that policy makers have access to reliable monitoring data when making management decisions about natural resource development and exploitation.
The CCC will participate in regional and national monitoring networks, and work with experts in a wide range of fields to establish strategic long-term monitoring projects.
RESEARCH: Research is crucial to understanding how ecosystems function, and for evaluating the effectiveness of management strategies. Southeast Alaska’s pristine habitats provide great value as reference sites for understanding how natural, unperturbed ecological communities function and adapt to change. As well, they provide unique opportunities to address the ecology of fjords and northern temperate rainforests.
The CCC will encourage multidisciplinary and collaborative research that capitalizes on the biodiversity inventories and long-term monitoring datasets generated at the Center. The CCC will provide local knowledge, lab space, research equipment and housing for scientists engaged in these research programs.
EDUCATE: Field stations provide students with opportunities for discovery-based learning and to gain experience collecting data in the field. When stations are embedded in awe-inspiring wilderness settings like Southeast Alaska, they can promote connectedness to the natural world and evoke a deeper appreciation for the value of conservation and environmental stewardship.
Students will be integral to all of the programs operating from the CCC. The Center will provide active learning opportunities through involvement in on-going inventorying, monitoring and research programs, as well as opportunities for students to conduct their own undergraduate and graduate – level research projects.
ADVOCATE: Independent field stations have the freedom to share their research and monitoring findings publically, and to actively encourage paths towards conservation or policy decisions. A scientifically informed perspective is particularly valuable in Southeast Alaska, where issues of resource development, habitat degradation and climate change are often controversial.
The CCC will communicate the results of scientific findings and consensus to the public to increase awareness for conservation issues, and when applicable will use its scientific understanding of ecosystem processes and environmental change to assess and comment on policy.