Summer Research (as SEEN from the Coykendall Science Building). Part 2: Dr. Carol Rietsma studies the effects of controlled burns on maintenance of chestnut oak forests in the Mohonk Nature Preserve.
Loewy Research Fellowships -- Mohonk Nature Preserve
In 2005, the Loewy Family Foundation provided a generous grant to establish the Preserve's first, paid, professional-level research fellowships.
One of the fellowship recipients this year is Dr. Carol Rietsma, Associate Professor of Biology at the State University of New York at New Paltz, who is studying the effects of deer browsing and controlled burns on chestnut oak forests.
The Mohonk Nature Preserve is just a few miles from campus and visible from the Coykendall Science Building. Student research is ongoing fall, spring and summer.
John Guliano, who is a major in the Environmental Geochemical Science Program is doing his second required semester of research with Dr Carol Rietsma. This summer he is collecting pre-prescribed burn data in Sleepy Hollow Swamp -- funded by Dr Rietsma's Loewy Fellowship.
John is recording shrub species identity and plant height along transect lines over a 10m diameter plot. He then determes if there is sky or canopy overhead.
In spring 2010 this surveyed area will be burned (prescribed fire) and then one-half of the 8 plots will be fenced to keep out deer (who tend to over browse young trees).
The question addressed is "How do prescribed fire and deer browsing affect oak regeneration?"