Intensive herbivory by white-tailed deer has plagued Valley Forge National Historical Park’s forests since the early 1980s. A deer management plan was enacted to reduce the size of the herd by at least 1000 deer over the next two years. The goal of my research was to model the impacts of changing levels of deer herbivory on the forests. I developed a forest model using data from a large deer exclosure erected in the park in the late 1980s. I am using the model to simulate how changes in herbivory and disturbance may affect forest composition over the next 120 years. My results suggest that changes in herbivory may be a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for restoring forests to their historical state. The finished model will serve as a tool for the park’s resource managers to use in developing long-term restoration plans.
Middlebury College has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2016. As the largest private landowner in Addison County, there is tremendous potential for land management practices to contribute to the goal of carbon neutrality. As part of an effort to understand how carbon sequestration varies among the different forest types on College-owned lands, we monitored carbon uptake in the Battell Research Forest, an old-growth hemlock forest in East Middleury, VT. As expected for an old-growth forest, the Battell Research Forest contains substantial pools of carbon in live and dead biomass. The size of the woody debris pool was substantially larger at the Battell Research Forest than in secondary forests at Breadloaf. We conclude our presentation with a proposal for how to implement an ongoing carbon monitoring protocol on College-owned forest lands.
For this project I returned to Old Providence for almost a month over J-term with a Garmin GPS to ground-truth information I had acquired from CORALINA (the government-sponsored Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina) and to create my own more accurate dataset. I recorded data for all of the roads, dirt roads, sidewalks and trails on the island, as well as important waypoints, and compiled a map of this information, populated areas, the biosphere reserve, and English nomenclature—which I fact-checked with native islanders.
One of the presenters for TEDxMonterey was Kelley Calvert, a MIIS alumna and faculty member. Kelley spent the summer of 2009 on a cross-country road trip exploring the nation for signs of hope and change. This was no ordinary journey; she traveled via a twenty-year-old retrofitted biodiesel Jetta. This adventure has inspired her book, Hope Walks into a Bar Looking for Change, a fast-moving tale on the open road that attempts to learn if hope can emerge from change. The cross-country journey and the process of documenting her experience inspired her TEDxMonterey talk where she encouraged participants to add their hope to her online map.
Tim Parsons, the College’s Horticulturalist developed an interactive map of all the trees on campus. In Tim’s Urban Forest class, his students took the tree population and ran it through modeling software called iTree to look at carbon sequestration, pollution abatement, etc. Students in other classes have used the map for tree identification. For example, a student recently contacted Tim because she was looking for Cherry trees to evaluate for a plant community ecology class.