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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.

People

Meghan Blumstein
Researcher

Andrea Lloyd
Sponsor & Professor of Biology

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A MiddLab Project

Monitoring Carbon Uptake on College Lands

Learn more about Biology and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College.

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.

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Terrestrial ecosystems play an integral role in the global carbon balance, potentially functioning as carbon sinks that fluctuate through time and seasonal changes. The net ecosystem exchange of these ecosystems has been heavily studied at the Harvard Forest Environmental Measurements Site (HFEMS) and has shown an increase in carbon sequestration over the past two decades. My study was conducted to analyze various impacts of the ice storm tat struck New England in December 2008 with respect to the forest carbon flux.

People

Lauren Sanchez
Researcher
Professor of Environmental and Biosphere Studies
Professor of Biology

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A high mortality of seeds and seedlings has been documented in areas of high conspecific adult density as a result of increased predation and disease. Although this phenomenon has received significant attention in the scientific literature, the long-term evolutionary and ecological impact of density-dependent seedling mortality remains poorly understood. The purpose of the present study is to determine the population-level impact of density-dependent seedling mortality on heavily exploited big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla).

People

Chris Free
Researcher

Matt Landis
Faculty Sponsor

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A MiddLab Project

Mapping Trees: A Horticulture Study

Learn more about Biology, Geography, and Facilities at Middlebury College.

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.

People

Tim Parsons
College Horticulturalist and Project Lead

Bill Hegman
GIS Specialist

Katie Clagett and Chris Rodgers
LIS GIS Interns

trees

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