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Ground-truthing

richard_carstensen_and_bob_christensen.jpg Ground-truthing is a term used by foresters and geologists referring to field-verification of maps and aerial imagery. In 2005, SEAWEAD naturalists Bob Christensen and Richard Carstensen partnered with the Sitka Conservation Society to develop and support the Tongass Ground-truthing project . The purpose of this effort is to investigate past and proposed timber projects throughout Southeast Alaska and pass on our observations of the condition of the landscape, and what might be done to improve it, to the public at large.

“Ground-truthers” travel to remote watersheds where past and present timber activities are rarely observed by the public. We compile retrospective analyses of the character of logged forests and streams, and of existing old-growth stands inside future cutting units.

Ground-truthers are “eyes and ears in the woods” for Southeast’s conservation-minded community members. But we also take field documentation to the next level, analyzing patterns of logging in GIS (Geographic Information Systems), evaluating landscape connectivity for wildlife, assessing the opportunity for salmon and deer habitat restoration work, and critiquing Land Use Designations.

The Ground-truthing team has visited dozens of past, present and proposed timber projects as well as numerous other sites for restoration projects and in support of developing community usea areas. Here are a couple reports if you would like to learn more:

2005 Tongass Timber Project Sampler

2007 North Baranof Report

The Ground-truthing team has recently put together an independent opinion peice that illustrates many issues that are critical to the balance between managing the Tongass for timber, fish and wildlife, recreation, tourism, climate change, etc. etc. You can read that report here .