Preliminary investigations of mammals in Alaska indicate inadequacies in our current understanding of diversity. Outdated taxonomic designations still in use for characterizing diversity and identifying forms unique to the region, i.e., are endemic there
Sampling strategy and design for the Tongass is consistent with methods used to collect similar data in previous years on the Tongass and in large inventory projects elsewhere in Alaska to facilitate regional application of results.
Inventory and monitoring studies must include a rigorous protocol for the physical documentation of the data including the systematic collection, preparation, and preservation of modern museum specimens. Inventory projects and the concomitant preservation of scientific specimens and archiving of related data requires long-term support from individuals, institutions, and agencies, because often the benefit of geographically extensive and site intensive collections is not immediately apparent. Over time, the value of these specimens increases dramatically as they become our prime opportunity to view past environmental conditions. Some of our highest quality assessments of environmental impacts or emerging threats have been derived from museum specimens (and their related data) that were systematically collected years ago. Specimens also provide the physical documentation for species identifications and associated data on reproduction, habitat, and parasites, among others.