A Conservation Assessment and Resource Synthesis for
The Coastal Forests and Mountains Ecoregion
in the Tongass National Forest and Southeast Alaska
The watershed matrix provides a database and ranking of habitat values for the suite of focal species and ecological systems (targets) used in this assessment. The set of targets used include: large-tree forests; brown and black bear (late-summer habitat); Sitka black-tailed deer (winter habitat); marbled murrelet (nesting habitat); Pacific salmon and steelhead (freshwater distribution); and estuaries (represented by area of salt marsh habitat). For our purposes, we applied the USFS system of Value Comparison Units (VCU), which represent approximate watershed-scale units, modified to include all non-USFS lands. This Watershed Matrix is contained in the form of an Excel Workbook, with rows representing each watershed and columns representing the various measures of ecological value. For each focal species or ecological system, we have included: (1) a relative measure of habitat value; (2) the percent contribution of each watershed to the total distribution of habitat values within it's biogeogrpahic province; and (3) the ranking of that watershed it's biogeographic province based on that habitat characteristics. Using habitat value for bear as an example: (1) bear_hab; (2) bear_pct; and (3) bear_rank contain these 3 measures, respectively.
The workbook contains 4 sheets, including: 1) habitat values and ranking for focal species and systems; 2) habitat values and ranking for individual salmon species; 3) conservation suitability factors including miles of road and acres of logging within each watershed; and 4) management status which describes the percent of total area within each watershed protected by congress (legal protection); (2) protected by the USFS or other agency (admin_protection); (3) lands available for timber harvest or other developments (devp_lands), which include both USFS and private lands; and (4) total land area within the watershed (land_ac).
We believe that this database and ranking of ecological values among watersheds will provide a useful tool for improved conservation and management in southeastern Alaska.