Schroeder seeking forest use input from public
A graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks living in Wrangell is working on her thesis – and asking the public for input so she can complete her degree.
Britta Schroeder, in her thesis, “How do the values of local community members regarding the Tongass National Forest align with the management activities planned on the district?” is seeking information that can assist the USFS in decision making, and as she puts it “hopefully as input during the comment period of the draft for the Wrangell Island EIS.”
“Other uses of this information may be to establish baseline information regarding public attitude or uses for future reference; to identify educational needs; to increase public policy process transparency; and to be proactive in preventing conflicts between incompatible values and uses,” she said. “I see this research as benefiting both the public and the managers as the Tongass transitions over the next 40-60 years to begin logging more young-growth.”
To address these issues Schroeder is conducting a survey and a mapping activity as a case study in Wrangell. Respondents in the survey will be asked to map areas they value as well as areas they find acceptable and unacceptable for certain uses.
“I am interested in how well these values and perceptions align with the ecosystem services available on the forest, such as timber volume,” she said. “Are areas with lots of economic values mapped coincident with areas of high timber volume? Are areas with lots of aesthetic values mapped coincident with areas of high timber volume? As well, this information will contribute to the theory of spatially explicit landscape valuation. Do theories regarding the correlation of values with acceptable uses actually apply to Wrangell citizens? For example, if a person maps mostly cultural values, will that person also respond unfavorably to questions about timber harvesting?”
Schroeder has a website titled “Wrangell Participatory Mapping Study” that she is asking interested citizens to use for her study. The website can be found at http://www.landscapemap2.org/wrangell.
Schroeder holds a Bachelor’s degree in forest management from Colorado State University. She began working for the Tongass National Forest in 2004 as a forestry technician in timber sale prep and moved to Wrangell in 2007 to work silviculture.