Vast, wild Northern Forest gains new allies: 18 projects named in $1.8 million study

December 19, 2002

UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT - A small group of scientists will develop working models to balance the wishes of foresters and recreation enthusiasts with the need to maintain the biodiversity of ecological reserves in the vast, wild Northern Forest that stretches from Maine through Vermont and New Hampshire to New York's Adirondacks.

Another cluster of university researchers will use GIS and satellite mapping to measure and predict the movement of invasive species through the forest's ecosystem. And a third team will track the changes land use has on land-forms and water quality in the streams that flow through the Northern Forest.

These are just three of 18 projects totaling nearly $1.8 million in research grants for studies of the Northern Forest and its communities, the Northeastern States Research Cooperative (NSRC), announced this week. Grants were made possible through the efforts of U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Judd Gregg (R-NH).

The project represents an enormous amount of useful data gathered by the region's top-notch researchers cooperating at institutions such as the University of Vermont, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, University of New Hampshire, Lyndon State College and the USDA Forest Service in order to serve one of the nation's most undeveloped, biodiverse regions.

"Landowners, communities and residents of the Northern Forest have long recognized the need for on-the-ground research across the region," said Leahy, senior member of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee overseeing NSRC funding, "These grants are one of the key tools we have throughout the region to address the growing challenges of the Northern Forest."

"The collaboration of existing research sites throughout the Northeast has been used to construct regional databases and increase interaction among scientists," added Gregg, who is also a member of the Senate subcommittee. "The Northern Forest is one of the Northeast's most magnificent areas and the research conducted by this network of sites helps address and better understand critical social, economic and natural resource challenges facing the region."

Project grants range from $10,000-$200,000. Other topics include calculating the economic value of forest ecosystem services, evaluating the effects of nitrogen deposition in forests, defining and understanding "sustainable" tourism, and assessing mercury distributions in forested watersheds. The NSRC is jointly directed by the University of Vermont's School of Natural Resources and the Hubbard Brook Project of the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Research Station.

"The NSRC is a unique research program that, though still young, already has outstanding partners and supporters in Senators Leahy and Gregg, the Hubbard Brook Project and the Forest Service," said Donald DeHayes, Dean of the University of Vermont School of Natural Resources, "We look forward to continuing the grant program and building it to further serve research needs in the Northern Forest.
-end-
The 26 million-acre Northern Forest -- home to one million residents -- is a rich, working landscape with abundant recreation opportunities, vast watersheds and a diversity of northern wildlife. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the region became a priority for national protection, when concerns rose that the remaining open forest and timber were being lost to unplanned fragmentation and real-estate speculation. The governors of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York turned to the region's congressional delegation to formally create the Northern Forest Lands Council (NFLC). In 1994 the NFLC published a report, "Finding Common Ground: Conserving the Northern Forest," which called for the formation a four-state research cooperative to spur better understanding of the region's social, economic, and environmental challenges. The Northeastern States Research Cooperative (NSRC), was authorized in 1998. For more information about NSRC and a list of 2002 grants: www.uvm.edu/snr/nsrc or:

In Vermont
Dr. Melody Brown Burkins
University of Vermont
George D. Aiken School of Natural Resources
81 Carrigan Drive
Burlington, Vermont 05405
Phone: 802-649-5732
E-mail: burkins@valley.net

In New Hampshire
Dr. Chris Eager
NSRC Project Director
Hubbard Brook Project Leader
USDA Forest Service
271 Mast Road
Durham, New Hampshire 03824
Phone: 603-868-7636
E-mail: ceager@fs.fed.us

University of Vermont

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