U.S. Geological Survey

Eastern Alaska Snow Persistence and Lichen Mapping Study

The distribution and abundance of snow and lichen are critical factors influencing the movements, distribution, and nutritional ecology of caribou in Alaska. In an effort to better understand the spatial and nutritional ecology of Fortymile caribou, maps that depict patterns of snow persistence and lichen abundance were required. We extended a Landsat-based 30 m snow persistence map east, to the border of Alaska and Canada, covering habitat utilized by the Fortymile, Porcupine, Hodzana Hills, White Mountain, and Nelchina caribou herds.  Landsat-based lichen mapping study area was conducted for Yukon–Charley National Preserve, where systematically collected vegetation plot data are available from the National Park Service. In a related project, the area was extended to cover the remainder of the Alaska portion of the Fortymile Herd range with additional data and funding from the BLM.