Doctoral candidate Kimberley Maher will give her dissertaion defense March 29 at 10 a.m. in Butrovich 109. The title is "Birch, Berries and the Boreal Forest: Activities and Impacts of Harvesting Non-Timber Forest Products in Interior Alaska."
Abstract: Harvesting wild berries, firewood and other non-timber forest products from the boreal forest in Interior Alaska is a common activity amongst local residents. Non-timber forest products are harvested for personal use, subsistence and commercial purposes. While these activities contribute to informal household economies and livelihoods, harvest of the products is not well documented in Alaska. Availability of these ecosystem services may be altered under changing management and climate regimes. This interdisciplinary dissertation takes a look at the activities and impacts of current harvesting practices. It uses results from a Forest Use Survey and interviews to describe who is harvesting, what they are harvesting and why they’re harvesting. Biological impacts from tapping birch trees in the spring are examined and issues for forest management will be presented.