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2000 Spotlight on Graduate and Undergraduate Research at ESF
Forestry Abstracts

 

Contents

EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF FOREST POPULATION DENSITY IN NEW YORK STATE'S WOODSHEDS. Kevin Brazill and René Germain (advisor).

INVESTIGATION OF LIGHT INTENSITY EFFECTING CHLOROTIC BEHAVIOR AND GROWTH IN AMERICAN CHESNUT CLONES GROWN IN VITRO. Jason Corwin1, Sharon Bickel1, Michael Satchwell,Gregory Boyer and Charles Maynard.

HYDROMETRIC CHARACTERIZATION OF EFFLUENT MIGRATION THROUGH A RESIDENTIAL SEPTIC FIELD, PUTNAM COUNTY, NY. Debra S. Curry, Mark D. Sherlock and Jeffrey J McDonnell.

USING SPATIAL ANALYSIS TO IDENTIFY POTENTIAL MIGRATION CORRIDORS BETWEEN SUBPOPULATIONS OF THE KARNER BLUE BUTTERFLY (LYCAEIDES MELISSA SAMUELIS) NABOKOV, IN THE SARATOGA SANDPLAINS FEDERAL RECOVERY UNIT OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK. Michael J. Fitzgerald and Lee P. Herrington Ph.D.

ESTABLISHING WILLOW AND POPLAR ON A BROWNFIED SITE IN UTICA, NY. Samuel J. Jackson and Christopher A. Nowak, Faculty of Forestry, 211 Marshall Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, U.S.A.

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AS PARTNERS IN NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: AN ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT RESEARCH DESIGN. Timothy Schaeffer1 and Valerie Luzadis2, 1GPES and 2Faculty of Forestry, 320 Bray Hall, 1 Forestry Drive, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY 13210.

DESIGN OF A DATABASE TO SUPPORT A MULTIPLE INVESTIGATOR WATER QUALITY INVESTIGATION. Irene M. van Winkel and James M. Hassett, Faculty of Forestry, 211 Marshall Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

EVALUATION OF SIX PRE-EMERGENT HERBICIDES IN THE SHORT ROTATION WOODY BIOMASS SYSTEM IN CENTRAL NEW YORK. Jason Wagner, Christopher A. Nowak and Lawrence P. Abrahamson, Faculty of Forestry, 340 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

USE OF GROUND-PENETRATING RADAR AND ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION TO CHARACTERIZE SUBSURFACE HYDROLOGICAL FLOWPATHS. Albert Zumbuhl, Jeffrey McDonnell, and James Hassett; Faculty of Forestry, 208 Marshall Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse NY 13210.


Abstracts

EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF FOREST POPULATION DENSITY IN NEW YORK STATE'S WOODSHEDS. Kevin Brazill and René Germain (advisor), Faculty of Forestry, 320 Bray Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York 13210.

Private landowners in New York State own an estimated 15 million forested acres and supply approximately 90% of the timber and wood products to the state's wood-based industries. With national trends indicating a rise in rural population densities, growth and mobility among human populations in New York will increase the concentration of people on those lands. The fragmentation of New York's forests could influence long-term forest management opportunities, future wood supplies for the state's solid wood producers, and economic stability in regions dependent on the wood products industry. This study's central research hypothesis focuses on the degree to which the state's long-term wood supply is affected by forest fragmentation. The methods employed in the study include collecting data on potential commercial timberland (using new and existing GIS records, aerial photographs, satellite imagery, and USGS land use categories), analyzing trends in forest population density in New York (gleaned from US Census blocks and county tax records), and questioning selected forest products industries about changing woodsheds. This study formally began in January 2000 with a targeted completion date of May 2001. Through this project, we expect to improve the wood-based industry's understanding of the importance of planning for a future wood supply and inform the public about the impacts of forest fragmentation on the state's wood-based businesses.

 

INVESTIGATION OF LIGHT INTENSITY EFFECTING CHLOROTIC BEHAVIOR AND GROWTH IN AMERICAN CHESNUT CLONES GROWN IN VITRO. Jason Corwin1, Sharon Bickel1, Michael Satchwell2,Gregory Boyer2 and Charles Maynard1, 1Faculty of Forestry and 2Faculty of Chemistry, 217 Marshall Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

Although difficult to work with, our laboratory contains a large number of chestnut shoots grown in vitro, or in tissue culture, for genetic engineering. Recently a significant number of individuals exhibited chlorosis. A possible factor was the varying light intensities from each rack of lights within the light bench. Light intensity on the different shelves was tested. Three intensities were selected and labeled as low (40.69mmol s-1m-2 per mA), intermediate (83.19mmol s-1m-2 per mA) and high (137.97 mmol s-1m-2 per mA). Three clones of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) were chosen to represent the various sources of stock plants. The first, M3 x M4 Clone 4, is derived from pure American chestnut embryos. The second is Iowa #2, and is seedling derived from a pure American chestnut. Douglas is a seedling-derived culture that is a hybrid between an American chestnut and a Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima). Each light intensity contained four cubes of each clone. Every 4 weeks for 2 months the shoots were measured for height and tested for chlorophyll and pheophytin, a chlorophyll break down product. The embryonic clone (M3 x M4 Clone 4) grew well under all intensities, showing growth of over a centimeter per month in each light intensity. The long term testing showed no comparable difference in growth. Iowa #2 showed decreasing heights as light intensity increased as well as possible long term stunted growth. Douglas exhibited a high affinity to the intermediate intensity, growing as much as 3 cm on the average. Over the long term, Douglas grew 2 times taller in the intermediate compared to the high intensity light. Plantlet leaves were used for chlorophyll extraction and evaluation with a Beckman DU640 spectrophotometer. Analysis of all three clones under all three light intensities showed a correlation of higher light intensity with a decrease in chlorophylls a and b. In conclusion, a light level between 40.69 and 83.19 mmol s-1m-2 per mA is favored for optimal growth and vigor of plantlets.

 

HYDROMETRIC CHARACTERIZATION OF EFFLUENT MIGRATION THROUGH A RESIDENTIAL SEPTIC FIELD, PUTNAM COUNTY, NY. 1Debra S. Curry, 1Mark D. Sherlock and 2Jeffrey J McDonnell. 1Faculty of Forestry, 208 Marshall Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210; 2Department of Forest Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331

The fate and transport of contaminants from septic fields remains poorly understood in many hydrogeological environments. We report hydrometric data from an intensive hillslope-scale experiment conducted during August-November 1998 at a residential leach field in Putnam County, NY. The objective of our study was to characterize water flux within the vadose and phreatic zones in and around the septic field, with a view to understanding leachate migration at this site. Vadose zone soil water flux was calculated using soil water suction measurements from a network of 25 tensiometer nests, each nest consisting of 3 tensiometers installed within the Ap, B1 and C horizons. Flow-nets indicated that a strong upward movement of soil water occurred between storm events. Following the onset of (typically convective) rainfall, large near-surface soil water tensions were rapidly reduced to near-saturated and saturated conditions, promoting steep vertical gradients through the near-surface horizons of the hillslope. Resultant flow vectors show that flux was predominantly vertical through the vadose zone, and that the flux response to precipitation was short-lived. Advective transport velocities through the unsaturated matrix were typically very small, because of the rapid loss of hydraulic conductivity with increasing soil water suction. Thus, soil water and effluent had a very high residence time in the vadose zone. Flux within the phreatic zone was simulated using MODFLOW, a finite diference model, which utilizes measurements of piezometric head and saturated hydraulic conductivity to calculate flow pathways. These results indicate that phreatic zone flux was predominantly downslope and very slow (~0.02 cm hr-1), because of the small hydraulic gradients and reduction in saturated hydraulic conductivity at depth. These results are consistent with previous chloride tracing experimentation, electromagnetic induction data, and spatial chemistry data, which indicated that the downslope spread of the septic plume at this site was limited.

 

USING SPATIAL ANALYSIS TO IDENTIFY POTENTIAL MIGRATION CORRIDORS BETWEEN SUBPOPULATIONS OF THE KARNER BLUE BUTTERFLY (LYCAEIDES MELISSA SAMUELIS) NABOKOV, IN THE SARATOGA SANDPLAINS FEDERAL RECOVERY UNIT OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK. Michael J. Fitzgerald and Lee P. Herrington Ph.D., Department of Forestry, 403 Bray Hall, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

In 1992 the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Karner Blue Butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) Nabokov, as an endangered species in accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Historically, the Karner Blue Butterfly (KBB) was found throughout the lake states but is currently limited to small metapopulations (groups of isolated subpopulations) within its former range. During its larval stage the KBB feeds exclusively on the wild blue lupine (Lupinus perennis L., Fabaceae), but the adults utilize additional nectar sources throughout the two biannual broods. The KBB depends on the wild blue lupine, which prefers sunny, early successional, well-drained soils. However, fragmentation, development, and fire suppression within the blue lupine's range has led to a decrease in suitable KBB habitat. This loss of habitat has created migration barriers preventing genetic exchange between subpopulations within the Saratoga Sandplains federal recovery unit metapopulation. A geographic information system will be used to ascertain whether suitable habitat currently exists, or can be created between subpopulations within the Saratoga Sandplains. Once identified, a spatial analysis will be performed to determine if these habitat islands can be used to create wildlife corridors that will allow natural migration between subpopulations in accordance with the Levins Population Structure. The analysis will involve combining digital data layers including the location of KBB subpopulations and blue lupine (both historic and currently existing), Niagara Mohawk electric transmission rights-of-way, roads, soils, topology (slope and aspect) and landuse. A timetable will also be developed to determine if the Karner Blue Butterfly can reach full recovery as defined by the Karner Blue Butterfly New York State Recovery Plan before it is extirpated from the Saratoga Sandplains Recovery Unit. The timetable will take into account the average distance that an adult KBB can disperse in it's lifetime, the number of broods per year, and the distance to another subpopulation within the metapopulation.

 

ESTABLISHING WILLOW AND POPLAR ON A BROWNFIED SITE IN UTICA, NY. Samuel J. Jackson and Christopher A. Nowak, Faculty of Forestry, 211 Marshall Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, U.S.A.

Abandoned and underutilized industrial lands (brownfields) are common throughout New York State and the United States; reclaimation of these sites and possible remediation of soil contaminants may be accomplished through the establishment and growth of plants. Willow and poplar have displayed successful establishment on high quality, agricultural sites. This study was conducted to determine if willow and poplar clones display similar high survival and biomass accumulation on a brownfield site. 25-cm unrooted cuttings of 7 willow and 1 poplar clones were planted randomly at 0.3 x 0.3 m spacing and evaluated for survival and biomass after 1 growing season. Overall survival was 90%; NM6 (Populus nigra x P. maximowiczii) displayed the highest survival at 97%, and S25 (Salix eriocephala 16 x S.erio 276) survived at a rate of 81%. Stem biomass production was 1.16 Mg/ha, which is again consistent with first year growth on higher quality agricultural sites. After correcting for initial cutting diameter, there were no significant survivorship or biomass differences among clones. All clones deployed in this study are useful in the revegetation and possible remediation of brownfield sites.

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AS PARTNERS IN NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: AN ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT RESEARCH DESIGN. Timothy Schaeffer1 and Valerie Luzadis2, 1GPES and 2Faculty of Forestry, 320 Bray Hall, 1 Forestry Drive, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY 13210

Natural resource management is increasingly dependent on local governments. Efforts to safeguard the New York City water supply exemplify this emerging dynamic by relying on towns and villages for assistance in ensuring drinking water quality. Successful intergovernmental implementation depends upon the policy's attributes, the issue context, local commitment to the regulation, and local capacity for carrying out the program. Municipalities vary in their ability and willingness to be partners in environmental protection. Drinking water protection is complicated further by inconsistent political and resource boundaries and by the technical nature of the issue. Effective natural resource management on an ecosystem level requires cooperation and communication among all actors involved in the pursuit. While the ecological component of an ecosystem approach has received considerable attention, much less is known about its political, institutional, and organizational aspects. Adaptive management is a systems-based strategy that may help overcome the inherent difficulties of involving local governments in water resource protection. It envisions intergovernmental cooperation, acknowledges ecological uncertainty, and views environmental policies as experiments from which individuals should learn in a process of knowledge-building. Adaptive management is based upon shared decision-making authority and a continuous learning process in which new information serves as a guide for future decisions. As such, it provides a framework for assessing current efforts to engage local governments as partners in the New York City Watershed. The main purpose of this research is to ask whether local governments are viable natural resource management partners. More specific questions emerge from this broader focus: 1. Do towns and villages make decisions that advance the goals of watershed protection? 2. What is the impact of a town's or village's commitment to and capacity for making watershed protection decisions? 3. What would need to be changed within the overall decision-making and governance framework and at the town and village level in order to facilitate adaptive management? A series of interviews and document analysis measure differences in local context, ability, and willingness to participate in watershed management. Interviews were conducted with the top elected officials in the forty-one towns and nine villages in New York City's West-of-Hudson (Catskill/Delaware) Watershed and with county, state, and other personnel to whom the municipalities may turn for assistance in trying to protect the water supply. The interviews and documents are analyzed to explain how local ability and willingness to undertake protective measures influence local decisions. The results contribute to the understanding of the political and institutional elements of ecosystem management and provide a tool for managers to use in selecting future management strategies in municipal watersheds.

 

DESIGN OF A DATABASE TO SUPPORT A MULTIPLE INVESTIGATOR WATER QUALITY INVESTIGATION. Irene M. van Winkel and James M. Hassett, Faculty of Forestry, 211 Marshall Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

A research consortium will conduct literature, field and modeling investigations into the water quality of the East-of-Hudson watershed to the New York City drinking water reservoirs. The research consortium (currently) consists of 5 research organizations: NYC-DEP, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse University, USGS and Upstate Freshwater Institute. A wide array of hydrological, water quality and spatial data will be collected. Implementing a database which would serve the needs of these organizations would be very complex and time consuming. Presently, no such database exists and would need to be developed, numerous research personnel would need to be trained in database use, and the database will need to be continually maintained to ensure all variables and parameters have valid values. We are currently investigating an alternative solution, whereby the data are stored in separate data files. Metadata (data which describe origin, content, quality etc. of the each data file) will be collated to be able to keep track of all data accumulated. To promote accessibility for the numerous personnel and organizations, the metadata and data files will be posted on a web site. This simplifying approach will improve inter-organizational data communications in a time efficient manner.

 

EVALUATION OF SIX PRE-EMERGENT HERBICIDES IN THE SHORT ROTATION WOODY BIOMASS SYSTEM IN CENTRAL NEW YORK. Jason Wagner, Christopher A. Nowak and Lawrence P. Abrahamson, Faculty of Forestry, 340 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

Control of weeds in the first growing season is essential for the successful establishment of short rotation woody bioenergy plantations. Currently, very few herbicides can be used due to labeling restrictions and broad susceptibility of willows and poplars to phytotoxic damage. This study will explore the effects of different herbicide treatments to see if more tools can be added to our production system. Currently, Goal 2XL is our best pre-emergent herbicide and will serve as a reference point to help evaluate the new herbicide treatments. Twelve different herbicide treatments, consisting of six different herbicides and two controls, were applied to one poplar and seven willow cultivars directly after planting in Tully, New York in the spring of 1999. Treatments were replicated three times in a split-plot design. Herbicide application was done using a hand operated, CO2 powered, bicycle sprayer. Percent cover of non-crop vegetation and phytotoxicity were assessed every thirty days. Phyto-toxicity was measured using a scale of zero to ten: zero being dead and ten being healthy. At the end of the growing season height and diameter was measured for every plant stem to estimate wood production. Significant differences between treatments were found at a=0.10. Karmex mixed with Prowl and Scepter 70 DG had higher wood production than the other herbicide treatments and were comparable to the production of Goal 2XL. The ineffectiveness of weed control or the phyto-toxic effects of the herbicide reduced wood production. Both the Karmex treatment and the Scepter 70 DG had minimal phyto-toxic damage but failed to control weeds effectively. Therefore, the loss of biomass can be attributed to competition. The Oust and the Milestone and Oust treatments both had excellent weed control but also had high levels of phyto-toxic damage. It can be rationalized that due to the herbicide damage of both treatments they produced less wood. Karmex and Prowl and Scepter 70 DG show promise for future use in the short rotation woody biomass system. These promising herbicides should also be looked at on a variety of sites.

 

USE OF GROUND-PENETRATING RADAR AND ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION TO CHARACTERIZE SUBSURFACE HYDROLOGICAL FLOWPATHS. Albert Zumbuhl, Jeffrey McDonnell, and James Hassett; Faculty of Forestry, 208 Marshall Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse NY 13210.

Site characterization is an integral part of field scale hydrological investigations. The vertical and lateral extent of subsurface conditions affects water flowpaths, fate and transport of contaminants, and is important for subsurface flow modeling. Geophysical survey methods such as ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic induction (EMI) are especially well suited for characterizing these subsurface conditions. Other traditional site characterization techniques are generally restricted by the limited number of samples at discrete points that usually involve destructive sampling (such as borehole sampling). Geophysical methods can be used to obtain non-destructive, high-resolution data at much greater sampling densities. EMI sensors are portable, non-invasive instruments used to map apparent terrain conductivity across a site. GPR sensors record vertical subsurface profiles generated by the two-way travel time of reflected electromagnetic pulses transmitted into the ground. Both geophysical methods can be used to extend the interpretation of traditional point measurements. Examples of using GPR and EMI for site characterization are shown from research conducted on septic sites in the New York City Watershed.

 

 



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