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Environmental Conservation Dept.

As Massachusetts faces increasing pressure from population expansion, along with increasing challenges due to climate change, we seek a solution to the growing demand in housing that supports the local timber industry and rural economies and also creates an opportunity to store more carbon both in our buildings and across our regional forested landscape. Recent advances in timber technology have produced promising new methods for meeting some of the demand for building materials, as well as the need to store carbon.

The project combines intensive field sampling with an advanced statistical model to compile an extensive, statewide regeneration data set and improve understanding of the factors leading to successful regeneration of desired species and communities following management intervention. Our approach allows for novel understanding of the complete range of factors impacting forest regeneration in Massachusetts and tests alternative management approaches to sustain valuable forest resources under global change.

Dual-use systems are still novel, and to a degree experimental. What agricultural activities are most compatible with dual-use is not well understood, nor is whether the new incentive will be sufficient to spur significant adoption of dual-use cropping systems. UMass has important roles in the development and adoption of dual-use systems. First, UMass Extension will serve as a clearinghouse of information and an educational resource for the agricultural and solar energy communities regarding the new technology and new incentive program.

CEE will initially conduct a review of existing research regarding dual-use systems and consult with experts, including UMass agricultural extension staff, in order to prepare information and "best practices" for applicable farm activities in the state, including production of vegetables, fruit, hay, livestock, and horticulture.   We will develop research instruments that allow farmers to establish farm plans and production estimates based on shading analysis of the dual-use array, and to report on their actual annual production and farm plan revisions for each subsequent year.

Classical biological control provides a sustainable, green method of controlling invasive pests permanently. The number of such pests increases yearly with each new invasion. The separate objectives in this project address a series of such invaders. The intended outcome of each objective (project) is to safely and permanently lower the density of the pest and avoid the damage it causes. Outcomes will be healthier forests and other natural ecosystems and reduced pesticide use in crops.

Tree growth, post-establishment [defined as a resumption of pre-transplant growth rate (Struve and Joly 1992)], will be determined by measuring caliper of the established 48 research oak (Q. bicolor, Q. rubra) trees, annually for the next four years (preferably longer, but contingent upon funding). Annual increment will be analyzed using piecewise regression.

Family forest owners (FFOs) control 263 million acres (or 35%) of U.S. forests. In the eastern U.S, FFOs control more than 50% of the forests (Butler, 2008). The average age of FFOs is over 60 years old. It is estimated that over 75% of family forest land is owned by people over the age of 55 and nearly 50% is owned by people over the age of 65 (Butler, et al. 2016). In the coming years, nearly 3.8 million FFOs will be deciding the future of their land. We are, in fact, in the midst of the largest intergenerational shift of land our country has ever experienced.

Fishing is highly popular worldwide and a dominant use of many fish stocks (Cooke & Cowx 2004). While recreational fisheries were traditionally harvest-dominated, catch and-release has become a major practice in many developed countries, and is growing in popularity in developing countries due to a combination of increasing harvest regulations and shifting angler priorities. (Cowx 2002; FAO 2012; Freire et al. 2012; Brownscombe et al. 2014a).

Predation is considered a key limiting process, and management actions for declining species, such as forest-dwelling songbirds, are often aimed at reducing impacts of predation. This is of particular concern in areas undergoing urbanization, since densities of potential predators tend to increase dramatically with urbanization.

Recreational angling is a popular leisure activity for residents and visitors in Massachusetts, with one of the most sought after species being striped bass. Many of the striped bass are released following capture because of regulations and a growing conservation ethic among anglers, however little is known about how stresses associated with the capture event impacts behavior and survival.


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