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KENAI: Study Documents Major Habitat Changes
10 Region, September 6, 2005
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Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Ecologist Ed Berg has teamed-up with scientists from the Alaska Pacific University to examine habitat changes from 1950 to 1996 across the Kenai Peninsula Lowlands and adjacent areas. Using historical aerial photos and field sampling of 1113 random points the study found that nearly two-thirds of the area's waterbodies had shrunk in size, and over 80 % of the field sites experienced some level of drying since 1950. The results are consistent with a regional change in climate that is both warmer and drier as documented in Kenai and Anchorage weather records. Ramifications of a continuing drying trend may be significant to Refuge fish and wildlife, as well as influencing fire behavior and other large scale habitat changes. The study may be reviewed in its entirety in a Canadian journal [Can. J. For. Res. 35: 1-11 (2005)].

Contact Info: Kevin Painter, , kevin_painter@fws.gov



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