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Understanding Landscape Change in the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain and Yukon Kuskokwim Delta

Arctic LCC and Western Alaska LCC Landscape Change (Alaska Host Agreement project)


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Alaska’s Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) and Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) provide essential habitat for wildlife of management interest, including diverse communities of shorebirds and waterfowl. The low-lying ACP region is located on the North Slope of Alaska, and is rich with shallow lakes and ponds that form as a result of permafrost freeze-thaw cycles. This region is a primary nesting site for many migratory birds. The YKD, meanwhile, is a vast wetland/tundra landscape on Alaska’s remote western coast. One of the largest deltas in the world, the YKD supports millions of nesting and migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, and is the largest goose nesting habitat in North America. As climate conditions change and permafrost decreases in [...]

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“Yukon Delta NWR - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS”
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The Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) and the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) provide essential habitat for a number of wildlife populations of current management interest, including a dense and diverse community of shorebirds and waterfowl. The low-lying landscape mosaic that characterizes both the ACP and the YKD is at risk of massive change due to permafrost degradation in response to future climate change. Therefore, to conserve ecosystem services associated with the botanical and faunal richness in the ACP and the YKD, management strategies in the region should not only be based on current ecosystem conditions, but also incorporate projected changes in landscape composition. This project will be an extension of efforts initiated by the Arctic LCC, the Western Alaska LCC, and the Integrated Ecosystem Model for Alaska and Northwest Canada projects with the aim to characterize the vulnerability of the landscape to future climate change and the resulting impact on the landscape and waterbird populations.

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projectStatusIn Progress

Yukon Delta NWR - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS
Yukon Delta NWR - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • Alaska CASC
  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers


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Wildlife and Plants
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