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ESF Researchers Receive Grants from Northeastern States Research Cooperative

Awards Benefit the Northern Forest in 2021

Northeastern States Research Cooperative (NSRC) Directors announced 13 grants totaling $1.6 million of federal funding and $0.8 million of matching funding for research that will address priority issues facing forest stakeholders in the Northern Forest region. The projects cover a broad range of concerns related to land use and sustainable forestry, rural communities and economic development, climate change, biodiversity, recreation and tourism, invasive pests and diseases, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge.

Federal funding comes from Congressional appropriations through a partnership with the research and development arm of the USDA Forest Service for research on the Northern Forest and its 26 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. The private sector, states, and other organizations offered matching funding to support the research.

"The USDA Forest Service has a long history of working with a variety of partners to ensure the sustainability of the Northeastern forests, and the Northern Research Station is proud to be contributing to the work of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative," said Cynthia West, director of the Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory.

Research goals for the program, as stipulated in the 2020 NSRC Congressional Authorization, are to sponsor research to sustain the health of northern forest ecosystems and communities, develop new forest products, and improve forest biodiversity management. NSRC also supports a new Indigenous Forest Knowledge Fund (IFKF) to address structural inequities in opportunity for Indigenous youth in forest research and invest in the cultural and intellectual sovereignty of Tribal forest traditions, alongside other forms of applied forest research. NSRC will soon announce two winners from the inaugural IFKF competition.

NSRC received 50 research project proposals requesting $6.3 million in funding. All proposals were first assessed by a team of external technical reviewers.

"Projects put forward for final consideration were vetted by an external stakeholder review panel, which prioritized research based on the potential to engage stakeholders and to have meaningful impact to the region," said Breck Bowden, NSRC Director at the University of Vermont."

Projects were funded throughout the Northern Forest region, but New Yorkers will immediately benefit from two research projects based in the state.

  • Dr. Danilo Fernando from the department of Environmental and Forest Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will be researching the quantifying the genetic impacts of forest management strategies on sugar maple (Acer saccharum) in the Northern Forest; and
  • Dr. Elizabeth Vidon from the department of Environmental Studies at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will be researching the influence of multiple impacts on user experience and decision making in the Northeastern Forest.

"The federal and matching support for doctors Vidon and Fernando will allow them to continue their important research in the Adirondack Park and Northern forest and further our understanding of the sustainable use of these vital environments for tourism and agriculture," said Joanie Mahoney, ESF president.

These research projects, led by researchers from all four states, will begin in 2021:

  • Quantifying the Genetic Impacts of Forest Management Strategies on Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) in the Northern Forest. PI Danilo D Fernando, ESF
  • Influence of Multiple Impacts on User Experience and Decision Making in the Northeastern Forest. PI Elizabeth S. Vidon, ESF
  • Assisted Migration: A Viable Silvicultural Technique for Facilitating Adaptation of Northern Forest Tree Species to a Warmer and Drier Future World? Principal Investigator (PI) Heidi Asbjornsen, University of New Hampshire
  • Escaping to the Northern Forest: Migration, Housing, and Community Implications in the Time of COVID. PI Jessica A. Carson, University of New Hampshire
  • Evaluating the Efficacy of Audubon's Bird-friendly Maple: Can Managing Sugarbushes for Birds Provide Additional Benefits to Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, and Forest Resilience? PI Steven D. Faccio, Vermont Center for Ecostudies
  • Integrating Genetic and Ecological Data Using a New Circuit Theory Approach to Measure and Map Wildlife Connectivity across the Northeast. PI James D. Murdoch, University of Vermont
  • A New Silvicultural Guide for Northern Conifers in the Northeast. PI Laura Kenefic, U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station, University of Maine
  • Pheromone-based Monitoring and Control Program for Browntail Moth in the Northeast. PI Angela Mech, University of Maine
  • Predicting Density and Occurrence of Keystone and Umbrella Species Using Drone-based LiDAR. PI Alexej Siren, University of New Hampshire
  • The State of the Northeastern Forest Carbon Cycle: High-Resolution Carbon Accounting for the Regional Forest Sector. PI Daniel J Hayes, University of Maine
  • Vermont Town Forest Census for Covid, Carbon and Capacity-Building. PI Cecilia M. Danks, University of Vermont
  • Two Indigenous Forest Knowledge Funds to be announced soon.