The elements of a restoration and scientific research plan include a focus of the program, methods to develop research themes, assessment of prior research and restoration efforts, and integration of the study plan with ongoing research programs. In Chapter 3, we reviewed the current knowledge of factors that affect salmon abundance in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region, and we identified knowledge gaps and areas of concern for further research. However, just identifying knowledge gaps and areas of further research does not constitute a research plan. Which knowledge gaps should receive priority? Should the most expensive projects be funded initially? Should less expensive projects receive high priorities so that more research can be funded? Even if we had easily identified priorities, how could important research be accomplished to build knowledge synergistically?
To accomplish this goal of building knowledge in a systematic fashion, a framework is needed that guides the integration of research into a larger picture than would be available from individual projects by themselves. The research framework presents a vantage point that integrates current knowledge and gaps into a broad vision of the world.
For a problem as complex as the decline in salmon abundance in the AYK region, no single framework seems likely to encompass all research gaps into a unified body of knowledge. For this reason, we adopted three frameworks with different vantage points to address the problem; they should be viewed as examples that could be used in developing a detailed research plan. The three frameworks are based on a fish-centric view, a human-centric view, and a retrospective human view. They lead to research questions. There is some overlap with the questions in the previous chapter, but only partial. Because these questions were developed through a different pathway, they are listed in this chapter. The final chapter provides a broad approach to prioritizing all the questions.
The focus of a fish-centric research program developed within this framework would be to explain annual and longer-term variations in the abundance of salmon in terms of the processes that affect their reproduc-