Documenting habitat

Beginning in 2005, Bob Christensen and I developed a protocol for rapid field assessment—new-age ground-truthing—that builds on timeless naturalists’ skills and adds cutting edge technologies as these emerge.

Our CBJ wetlands survey team bushwacking east of Héen Latinee in July, 2014.

Office tent at Emerald Bay, June, 2005. Distant generator on long extension cord is powering 2 laptops and recharging batteries from cameras, GPS units and radios. Kenyon Fields photo.

Field device technology evolves rapidly. Every few years I create an update of my methods and workflow: prefield prep, fieldwork, and postfield processing and journaling. Usually these updates happen during or after a chance to hang out with Bob, who’s always several leaps ahead of me at the intersection technology with boots-on-the-ground. A vignette of that hybrid between oldschool & hightech methodology is in Doug Chadwick’s 2007 article for National Geographic.

A more recent update was in 2022, during the Landforms class with Cathy Connor. Here’s a field-&-office methods summary from the  course manual for that class.l

The methods paper discusses:

● cameras

● gps

● field notes (including audio)

● navigation apps

● drones

● and processing programs including: ● ACDSee ● Robogeo ● ArcMap

● journaling

● online slideshows and video editing

PS 2022

Wow, a lot can happen in the tech world in 5 years! Bob Christensen, who first set me up with Robogeo and ACDSee, has long since moved on from these programs. As Cathy Connor and I introduce students to ground-truthing and mapping technologies, seems high time i update the 2017 appendix excerpt. . . .  That said, its impressive how well certain technologies have held up. Bad Elf is still my favorite GPS. And Avenza has widespread adoption by field people in many disciplines.

In this section

Focus and breadth: science and natural history in Southeast Alaska

In March, 2015, I gave a banquet presentation to the Alaska Chapter of the Wildlife Society. Afterwards, I archived it…

2015 | Richard Carstensen | 31 minutes

Forest restoration in the Tongass: Why, how, and where

Bob’s summary for The Wilderness Society. Techniques and strategies. Download here (8MB): †

2012 | Bob Christensen | 71 Pages

Community Landmark Trees : Petersburg

Interpretive guide to Ohmer Creek Community Landmark Trees area south of Petersburg. Part 1 is a step-by-step guide to trees…

2004 | Richard Carstensen | 22 pages

Community Landmark Trees: Ketchikan

Interpretive guide to Ward Lake Community Landmark Trees area north of Ketchikan. Part 1 is a step-by-step guide to trees…

2004 | Richard Carstensen | 22 pages

Northern Baranof Island: Past, present, and future

Reflections from our 2007 field surveys of northern Shee, volcano woman (Baranof Island). Covers history of logging in the province,…

2007 | Bob Christensen|Richard Carstensen | 12 pages

2011 fall newsletter. Recording nature

Field journaling as Raven goes global Journaling is my work and play. It’s how I taught myself to be a…

2011 | Richard Carstensen, Kathy Hocker, Kevin O'Malley | 16 pages

Landmark Trees of Áak’w & T’aakú Aaní

Northern challenges As you might expect, our highest-scoring Landmark Tree stands are on the central and southern Tongass. But we‚’ve…

Community Landmark Trees: Sitka

Interpretive guide to Gavan Hill Community Landmark Trees area near Sitka. Part 1 is a step-by-step guide to trees along…

2004 | Richard Carstensen | 22 pages

Community Landmark Trees: Kake

Interpretive guide to Hamilton Creek Community Landmark Trees area south of Kake. Part 1 is a step-by-step guide to trees…

2004 | Richard Carstensen | 22 pages

Habitat use of amphibians in northern Southeast Alaska

Final report on Discovery’s 2-year study of amphibian habitat relations. Population numbers, breeding pond origin types, and amphibian natural history…

2003 | Richard Carstensen, Mary Wilson, Robert Armstrong | 77 pages