Showing posts with label forests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forests. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Revitalizing Baltimore: A better city through environmental discovery

As part of the course requirements for FOR496/797, students share responsibility for reporting on the WiSE Professions Speaker Series.  The following was prepared by Olga Shevtsova

Jackie Carrera, president and CEO of Parks & People Foundation in Baltimore, concluded ESF’s 2013 Women in Scientific and Environmental (WiSE) Professions Series with Revitalizing Baltimore: A better city through environmental discovery on Tuesday, April 23. The seminar was jointly sponsored by the Graduate Student Association and the ESF Women's Caucus.

Parks & People began with the idea that there is one park, a city within a park, that is, rather than many parks within a city as the greenspace and corridors provide a network for a healthy community.  Ms Carrera discussed problems in the city of Baltimore, including significant property abandonment as a result of suburban sprawl, lack of opportunities for young people, stream erosion and non-point source pollution, uncoordinated approaches to natural resource management. These examples demonstrated the urgent necessity of the Urban Resources Initiative which works towards sustainability through applied ecosystem management principles. This working group learned that “Urban greening programs influenced the health of the city—they bring people together in a way they are not used to working together.  This increases their social capital, enabling them to take on bigger community issues like schools and crime.  They also have an economic benefit by increasing property values.” 

Carrera also focused on the power of partnership between governments at all levels, nonprofits, academia, businesses, and communities. Defining the most important steps of planning process through discussion of how to meet the goals and how they’ve changed is a key to achieve urban ecological restoration. The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) has enhanced increased public support of scientific research. Parks & People Foundation affords opportunities for BES scientists to communicate their knowledge for practical application in community organizing and public policy. Initiating different workshops, annual meetings, trainings and science presentations all contributed to the project’s success.  It is imperative that on the ground management strategies use sound scientific approaches; and that science research is informed by practical needs. The process “is established, then fixed, then tweaked, in an iterative way” to assure that everyone at each level are at the same table.  

Watershed 263 is a classic example. "The city had an unfunded mandate to clean up pollutants flowing into the city.   This watershed featured lots of impervious surfaces, a lot of city owned land, and significant but dispersed open space. What, they wondered, would happen if they could reduce the asphalt?  The removal of back parking lot of Franklin Square Elementary School, coupled with other projects increased the area available for infiltration."

Good Science is the key, and a technology committee capable of communicating science with practitioners, is the tipping point.

About Jackie Carrera
Jackie Carrera has been instrumental in the development of a 15-mile urban greenway, community forestry and watershed restoration programs numerous youth sports and camp programs which continue to be integral to the revitalization efforts of some of that city’s most underserved communities. She also chaired Revitalizing Baltimore, a US Forest Service urban and community forestry project and is a co-principal investigator for the Baltimore EcosystemStudy, a National Science Foundation-funded, long term ecological research project.  Ms. Carrera represented the Chesapeake region in preparing for the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and the Urban Waters Initiative.  She served on a national task force initiated by the US Forest Service, Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests: A National Call for to Action. Ms. Carrera was voted one of the Daily Record’s Maryland’s Top 100 Women and 100 Most Influential Marylanders by The Maryland Daily Record and was named the 2008 University of Baltimore Distinguished Social Entrepreneur. Ms. Carrera is a graduate of the Greater Baltimore Committee Leadership Program and the Weinberg Fellows Program. She earned a BA, Business Administration degree in Finance from Loyola College in Maryland.

For more information about the WiSE Professions Series, please visit

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Famed primatologist speaks at ESF

Dr. Patricia Wright
As part of the course requirements for FOR496, students share responsibility for reporting on the WiSE Professions Speaker Series.  The following was prepared by Rose Petersky.

In 1986, Dr. Patricia Wright was looking for the Greater Bamboo Lemur, a species that had been thought to be extinct, in Madagascar, the only area of the world where lemurs are naturally found. Weary? from her extended travel, she decided to stop at a local hotel.   Behind the hotel was a forest.  Within that forest, Dr. Wright not only found the lemur that she sought, but also a new species-- the Golden Bamboo Lemur.   Despite the ecological significance of these finds, she knew that the forest would not be around for much longer without protection. She visited the Madagascar Department of Water and Forests to try to persuade them to make the forest a preserve. Their response was that they would be happy to comply, if they were given the necessary funding. Wright recalled to the audience of about 80 in ESF’s Illick Hall that she “walked out of that office thinking, ‘oh dear’ and then [she] became a conservationist.” Seven years later, Ramonafana National Park was founded.  It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Golden Bamboo Lemur
Lemurs are the most threatened mammal in the world. Ninety-one percent of lemur species are on the RED list of endangered and threatened species. They are threatened by deforestation, slash and burn agriculture, erosion, and mining. Since humans arrived in Madagascar 1,500 years ago, 90 percent of Madagascar’s forests have been destroyed. Thanks to Dr. Wright, there are 41,600 hectares of tropical forest where 12 species of lemur are protected. In addition to providing this essential habitat, Ramonafana National Park also supports 100 scientific researchers annually and employs 85 full-time staff.

Dr. Wright states with confidence that Ramonafana would not be possible without the support of the local people that cooperated with her from the very beginning. One half of the admission fees from the park go to local villages for municipal projects.   Ramonafana also participates in outreach programs around Madagascar such as hosting a radio station in the park’s recording studio, and an education program that reaches 32 schools and more than 11,000 Malagasy children. In addition,, Ramonafana’s heath team has constructed 230 latrines and installed 30 water pumps in the local area, and provides disaster relief for 3,000 people.   

About Dr. Wright
Considered to be one of the world’s foremost expert on lemurs, Patricia Wright is best known for her 26-year study of social and family interactions of wild lemurs in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, and for leading the effort to establish this park.   For this work, she holds, among other honors, the prestigious National Medal of Honor of Madagascar.  She is the founder of the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments (ICTE) and Centre ValBio (CVB), and a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, all at Stony Brook University.  Wright has worked extensively on conservation. In the late 1980s she spearheaded an integrated conservation and development project that, in 1991, led to the establishment of Ranomafana National Park.  Wright has received many honors for her conservation work in Madagascar, including the prestigious "Chevalier d’ Ordre National” National Medal of Honor of Madagascar, from the President of Madagascar in 1995. 

About the series
Dr. Wright’s lectureLemur Conservation in Madacasgar:  Updates from Ranomafana National Park   on February 21, 2013 was a joint presentation of the Women in Scientific and Environmental (WiSE) Professions and the Adaptive Peaks Speaker Series.  It was sponsored by the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, ESF Women's Caucus and the Graduate Student Association   For more information about the WiSE Professions Series, please visit .

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Climate change: can forests keep pace

Dr.  Lindsey Rustad, Hubbard Brook Team Leader & Research Ecologist, Center for Research on Ecosystem Change, US Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Durham, NH and Associate Research Professor, Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Maine.  Climate Change:  Can Northern Forests Keep Pace?  Sponsored by the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management and the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology.  Dr. Rustad reviewed climatological data associated with climate change, survey results about perceptions of climate change, and what the northern forests and the species that use it for habit might look like in the future.  A joint presentation of the Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions and the Cross-disciplinary Seminar in Hydrological and Biogeochemical Processes. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Deer & Forests in Pennsylvania: Surprises from Long-term Research

Dr. Susan Stout (MS '84), Research Project Leader, USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Irvine, PA, Deer & Forests in Pennsylvania: Surprises from Long-term Research, Sponsored by the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management and the ESF Alumni Association.  Dr. Stout discussed the effect of deer on forest regeneration and development, and the methods used to educate the public and modify the behavior of hunters to improve participation at voluntary check stations, and other practices.  A joint presentation of the Women in Scientific Professions and the Forest and Natural Resources Management Departmental Seminar.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Grulke reports Air Pollution increases Forest Susceptibility to Wild Fires in California

By Yulanda Hwang and Tracey O’Malley

Dr. Nancy Grulke, a Plant Ecophysiologist with the USDA Forest Service, presented her research on Air Pollution and Increased Forest Susceptibility to Wild Fires at SUNY-ESF on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 as part of SUNY ESF’s Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions Spring Seminar Series. This event was sponsored by ESF’s Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, Graduate Student Association, and the ESF Women's Caucus.
Dr. Grulke discussed the effects of air pollutants on forested ecosystems and their link to wildfire. Dr. Grulke first discussed how the rapid increase in human population and the change in land use from forest utilization to a management practice of fire suppression had originally led to the ecosystem’s susceptibility to wildfires.
Attention was then focused on regional ozone concentration and its relation to drought stress and on tree responses. Environmental stressors alter temporal and spatial variations in plant resources, acquisition, allocation, and partitioning. Strong tropospheric oxides cause plants to retain needles for much shorter periods of time and thus reduce root biomass. Dr. Grulke’s research proves that ozone exposure reduces photosynthesis, increases drought stress, and therefore results in a loss of roots and biomass. Whether under short, medium, or long-term ozone exposure, metrics were persistent in predicting sluggish stomatal behavior.  She concluded that sluggish stomatal response was caused by an increasing vapor pressure deficient (VPD) with ozone exposure.
Dr. Grulke suggests that air pollution increases drought stress, drought stress increases tree susceptibility to beetle attacks, and these attacks make the trees more susceptible to fires.
Dr. Grulke received her B.Sc. in Botany from Duke University in 1978, and her Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Washington in 1983. She is currently a plant ecophysiologist and Project Leader, Atmospheric Deposition on Western Ecosystems, at the Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, in Riverside, California. She specializes in effects of air pollutants, especially ozone concentration, on tree responses and drought stress in forests of California.

Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Facing the Future: Meeting the Information Challenges for Natural Resources Management.

As part of the course requirements for FOR 797 Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions, students share the responsibility for reporting on our speakers for distribution to ESFWOMEN listserv, co-sponsors, and the Knothole.

Farnsworth Memorial Lecture and Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions Campus-Wide Seminar April 9, 2002 
Facing the Future:  Meeting the Information Challenges for Natural Resources Management.
Dr. Susan Stafford, Colorado State University
Summarized by Heather Engelman

In meeting the information challenges that face resource managers, one might consider Dr. Susan Stafford’s subtitle “Do unto data before it does unto you”.  The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network of 24 sites serves as an example of concurrent diligent data collection and management of ongoing studies coupled with exciting new research possibilities.  The network relies on continuous measurements of existing, long-term studies and analysis for the integration and synthesis of results, generalization of these results for broader use across disciplines, cultures and spatial and temporal scales.  LTER aims to better science that challenges technology.

Dr. Stafford discussed the H.J. Andrews Experimental Site (AND) and the Shortgrass Steppe (SGS) sites to demonstrate the goals of understanding, synthesizing, and disseminating information.  In particular, she talked about the change in focus of research projects over time from efficient management of AND in the 1940s to the interaction of its forests and streams to old-growth/spotted owl to its current focus of global change.   SGS research has also evolved from the sustainability of rangelands to ecosystem interactions and productivity to landscape issues and nutrient cycling to both global issues and local praire dogs.   Information technology has dramatically progressed during this period as well from field books to mainframe computers to personal computers with FTP, e-mail, LAN, and WWW capabilities, to a common ecological metadata language (EML) useful across all 24 research sites.

LTER sites must share date with the scientific community within 24 months (with some exceptions, such as thesis/dissertation completion or additional measurement required).  Two additional challenges are to determine how the limited available funds can be best spent, and to train the “next batch of scientists.”  LTER successes at site and network level are numerous: collaborations with other organizations, substantial databanks, dynamic web pages, school yard long term ecological research (SYLTER) programs for K-12, network information systems (NIS), the development of EML and increased access to data and cross-site transfer of such.  The network also has fostered an increased sense of community among and between the research sites.

Stafford earned a B.S. in Biology and Mathematics at Syracuse University in 1974, a M.S. in Quantitative Ecology at ESF in 1975, and a Ph.D. in Applied Statistics at ESF in 1979.   She was part of Oregon State University’s Quantitative Sciences Group for 19 years, with 1-year assignments as a Faculty Associate to the Provost (1987-1988) and as a Division Director of Biological Infrastructure for the National Science Foundation (1994).  Since 1998, she has been the Forest Sciences Department Head at Colorado State University. Dr. Stafford's research interests include research information management, applied statistics, multivariate analysis and experimental design, scientific databases, GIS applications, and other data management topics.

Stafford was the keynote speaker of the Annual C. Eugene Farnsworth Memorial Lecture and Fellowship Ceremony, sponsored by the Faculty of Forest and Natural Resources Management.   Stafford’s lecture was also part of the Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions Seminar Series organized by the ESF Women’s Caucus. The prestigious Farnsworth fellowships honor the memory of Dr. “Gene” Farnsworth and his many contributions to professional forestry nationally and internationally, and in particular to his contributions to forestry education.   By modest count, he influenced the lives of 1500 forest technicians and 4000 professional forestry students in the 52 years he was affiliated with ESF and its forest technology program at the NYS Ranger School.  The fellows for 2002 are John Munsell, a MS student in Forest Resources Management, policy and administration, and Eric Greenfield, a PhD candidate in the Forest Resources Management area.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Alternative Economies in a Forested Landscape: Non-Timber Forest Products.

Karis McFarlane and Emera Bridger

On Tuesday February 19, 2002, Dr. Marla Emery, a research geographer for the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Research Station, spoke on “Alternative Economies in a Forested Landscape: Non-Timber Forest Products.”  Dr. Emery was thoroughly excited to share her work with students and faculty at ESF.   Her belief in the importance of her work was immediately evident.
For the purposes of her studies, Dr. Emery defined non-timber forest products as any plant or fungal product other than wooden boards or paper.  Her scope did not include wildlife or timber harvested on any scale for any use.  She described four categories of use for NTFPs including: sale in raw form, sale in processed form, personal consumption, and gift giving.  She went on to describe the role of NTFPs in human-forest interactions including the economic and the ecological.
Dr. Emery explained that the majority of NTFPs harvested are not used for market-based sale.  In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, for example, NTFPs are only used for sale 40% of the time.  This means that traditional Neoclassical economics acknowledges the contribution of NTFPs to harvesters livelihoods less than half of the time.  Alternative economic uses of NTFPs include personal consumption of edibles and medicinals by a harvester’s household, ceremonials, and decoratives not sold for a profit. The use of NTFPs is especially important on the household economy level.  They supplement other earnings, bridge income gaps, and provide a flexible commodity for times of special need.  NTFP harvesting allows people to maintain their livelihood in areas where traditional employment opportunities are scarce.  Individuals’ needs change over their lifespan as do their dependence and use of NTFPs.  Non-timber forest products also support local microenterprises such as a monastery-based jam and jelly business that Dr. Emery provided as an example.
NTFPs also provide people with a detailed and localized knowledge about the forest and it’s plant and fungal species.  They contribute to community and household values.  Provide for the intergenerational relationships and knowledge transfer.  They also allow households an alternative to government assistance and help people to stay in areas where employment opportunities are few.
The common assumption in popular ecology is that productive human activity degrades ecosystems.  Dr. Emery argued that different types of human activity effect the environment in different ways and at different levels.  Most harvesters of NTFPs are aligned with conservation efforts.  They are very concerned with management practices, as these practices have an immediate impact on non-timber species and their ability to harvest them.  NTFPs provide alternative economic development opportunities as well as alternative human-environment interactions.
During the questions that followed Dr. Emery’s talk, she expressed concern over the increasing commercialization of the floral and herbal medicinal industries.  Another source of concern is the trend of the closing of the commons.   As land continues to be transferred into private hands and regulations over the use of public land increase, NTFP harvesters may find it more difficult to harvest and use NTFPs as they have used them in the past.  This could have large impacts on the ability of NTFP harvesters to support themselves, eliminate this aspect of the human-nature relationship, and lead to the loss of vast amounts of local knowledge.