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Open-File Report 2008-1161

Open-File Report 2008-1161

The Face of Alaska: A look at land cover and the potential drivers of change

By Benjamin M. Jones


The purpose of this report is to provide statewide baseline information on the status and potential drivers of land-cover change in Alaska. The information gathered for this report is based on a review and analysis of published literature and consists of prominent factors contributing to the current state of the land surface of Alaska as well as a synthesis of information about the status and trends of the factors affecting the land surface of Alaska. The land surface of Alaska is sparsely populated and the impacts from humans are far less extensive when compared to the contiguous United States. The changes in the population and the economy of Alaska have historically been driven by boom and bust cycles, primarily from mineral discoveries, logging, military expansion, and oil and gas development; however, the changes as a result of these factors have occurred in relatively small, localized areas. Many of the large-scale statewide changes taking place in the land surface however, are a result of natural or climate driven processes as opposed to direct anthropogenic activities. In recent times, reports such as this have become increasingly useful as a means of synthesizing information about the magnitude and frequency of changes imparted by natural and anthropogenic forces. Thus, it is essential to assess the current state of the land surface of Alaska and identify apparent trends in the surficial changes that are occurring in order to be prepared for the future.


Land Ownership
Physical Environment
Socio-Economic Conditions
Factors Affecting Land Surface Features in Alaska
Anthropogenic Drivers
Discussion and Conclusions
Literature Cited

This report is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Download the report (PDF, 3 MB)

Document Accessibility: Adobe Systems Incorporated has information about PDFs and the visually impaired. This information provides tools to help make PDF files accessible. These tools convert Adobe PDF documents into HTML or ASCII text, which then can be read by a number of common screen-reading programs that synthesize text as audible speech. In addition, an accessible version of Adobe Reader 8.0 for Windows (English only), which contains support for screen readers, is available. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access.

Send questions or comments about this report to the author, Benjamin M. Jones, (907) 786-7033.

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