The Alaska Geobotany Center (AGC) is dedicated to understanding northern ecosystems through the use of geographic information systems, remote sensing, field experiments, and cooperative team research projects. We share a commitment to excellence in field research and teaching with the goal of inspiring an appreciation of northern ecosystems and making our research and teaching relevant to societal issues and concerns, particularly issues relevant to the state of Alaska.
Ecological studies use a hierarchical approach to examine landscape pattern and change at several scales. Primary areas of interest include vegetation classification, analysis of vegetation and landscape patterns as they relate to environmental variables, geobotanical mapping, snow ecology, appropriate land-use planning, and analysis of disturbance and recovery in northern regions.
AGC's educational role includes assisting and guiding undergraduates with independent research projects, offering summer research opportunities, teaching courses in the Department of Biology and Wildlife, and mentoring graduate students. The cornerstone of our teaching philosophy is practical training within a solid theoretical framework.
AGC also strives to serve the broader community by directing our research and teaching to increase public awareness of the importance of northern ecosystems as they relate to local, regional, and global societal issues, including the human dimensions of land-use and climate.
The Arctic Geoecological Atlas - Alaska (AAGA) was started with funding from the preliminary phase of the NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program's Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (pre-ABoVE). ABoVE seeks a better understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of Arctic and Boreal ecosystems and society to climate change, which is unfolding here faster than anywhere else on Earth. Amplification of climate warming in the Arctic and Boreal Region is particularly important as observations show that temperature variability and trends in this region tend to be larger than those for the Northern Hemisphere or the Earth as a whole. This is resulting in reduced Arctic sea ice, thawing of permafrost soils, decomposition of long- frozen organic matter, widespread changes to lakes, rivers, coastlines, and alterations of ecosystem structure and function. The focus is to provide the information required for ongoing policy discussions and the development of options for societal responses to the impacts of environmental change in the Arctic and Boral Region.