The trust services program assists allotment owners with a wide variety of activities. These services include, but are not limited to some of the following areas:
- timber trespass investigation
- timber appraisal
- timber sale preparation and administration
- reforestation projects
- pre-commercial tree thinning
- vegetation mapping
- forest inventory
- forest management plan preparation
The program also acts as the wildfire liaison between Native allottees and federal and state fire fighting agencies. To support this task, a computerized allotment database has been developed by the program. The database is linked to a GIS system and contains individual parcel maps, vegetation overlays and information about each parcel in the TCC region. Both the forestry and realty programs in their daily management of trust lands utilize the database. Funding for trust services comes from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) via the TCC compact and by competitive funding requests to the BIA for add-on funding. Add-on funds are utilized for specific allotment projects and compete against other similar projects on a nationwide basis. The two main categories are forest development (pre-commercial tree thinning) and forest management and inventory planning.
The program is also developing a hazard fuel reduction program via BIA funding that can provide defensible space services to individual allotments.
The tribal governments of Tanana and Fort Yukon are co-signers to the TCC compact and provide the same types of services directly or “buy back” some services via the TCC program.
Project: Native Allotment Continuous Forest Inventory
TCC Forestry has been conducting a Continuous Forest Inventory (CFI) on Native Allotments in the TCC Region. CFI is a forest monitoring project, with the goal of collecting data that can be used to monitor long-term trends and changes in the TCC Region forests. Collected data can also help determine how climate change is impacting our forests.
CFI data is more detailed and extensive compared to data collected for a standard forest inventory or timber cruise. The CFI data includes detailed measurements and estimates on trees, understory vegetation coverage and structure, down woody fuels, and soil organic material. CFI plot locations are carefully documented, so that these plots can revisited in the future for additional analysis on forest growth, trends and changes.
Each field season, CFI plot locations are selected from TCC Forestry management subunits. Field work is conducted, via extended remote camping trips, through the summer months by driving, boating, or walking to the plot locations. As of 2018, the CFI project is entering its fourth field season. It will take another 4 to 5 years to gather CFI data from plot locations across the remainder of the TCC Region. At this point, TCC Forestry will begin data collection of previously visited CFI plots. Ideally, remeasurements will be done approximately ten years apart from the initial CFI plot data collection.
Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA), through the U.S. Forest Service, is a similar effort is being conducted across all land ownerships in Interior Alaska. For the purposes of data sharing between the CFI and FIA, Tanana Chiefs Conference Forestry has adopted strict adherence to FIA protocols for the field sampling. The U.S. Forest Service has proven to be a valuable partner in this effort; and has provided assistance in sample design, training, and computer resources.
Long-term funding for TCC’s CFI project has been generously provided by BIA. For a more detailed report on the project prepared in Fall 2017, click here.