We hope you enjoyed the VNPS 2019 Annual Workshop speakers and the opportunity to share our common interests and goals with over 150 fellow members and supporters of the VNPS.
Your support makes these program possible, and we appreciate your interest.
Our Changing Forests: Forest Health, Management and Restoration
Saturday, March 9, 2019
9am to 3:15pm
Piedmont Virginia Community College
V. Earl Dickinson Building Theater
444 College Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Following up on our 2018 program about trees, our 2019 workshop will focus on management and restoration in some of our forested habitats. Our day will begin with research on the condition of eastern forests and the problems they face. We will then explore current management and restoration projects from the Longleaf Pine communities of the Coastal Plain to the western mountains with their mixed hardwoods, and finally, the high elevation Red Spruce ecosystem of the Central Appalachians.
9:00am – Registration and Coffee
9:30am – Welcome and Introduction – Nancy Vehrs
Biodiversity Collapse and the Future of the Eastern Deciduous Forest Biome
Changes in many ecological processes, from climate patterns to overabundant white-tailed deer, are causing dramatic declines in plant species diversity across much of the Eastern Deciduous Forest Biome. This presentation summarizes more than two decades of research in the Carson Lab Group on the underlying causes of forest degradation and will equip stakeholders with knowledge on how to mitigate these deleterious changes. The take-home message of this research is that the forests of the future will be depauperate, especially in the understory herb layer, where the vast majority of vascular plant diversity resides.
Michelle Spicer is a PhD candidate in biological sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, working in Dr. Walter Carson’s lab. She earned her MS in earth and environmental sciences and an integrated degree in engineering, arts and science BS from Lehigh University. Her research focuses on temperate and tropical forest community ecology, especially disturbance dynamics and epiphyte community assembly.
10:45am – Break
Telling the Story of Longleaf Pine Restoration in Virginia
The story of the Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) forest in Virginia is one of opportunity, hubris, loss, and hope. This talk outlines the aspects of history and ecology necessary for understanding how Virginia’s founding forest went from dominance to near extinction and what it will take to bring it back.
Rebecca Wilson is the Longleaf Pine restoration specialist, prescribed fire manager, and regional supervisor for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Natural Heritage. She has been with the agency since 1999. Previously, she worked as a seasonal biologist and wildland firefighter for the National Park Service. She earned a BS in environmental science from Mary Washington College and an MS in natural resource management from Virginia Tech.
12:00 – Lunch – Please bring your own
North Shenandoah Mountain Restoration and Management Project:
A Large-Scale Example of Appalachian Forest Restoration
Partners have been working together to identify forest restoration and management opportunities on the North Shenandoah Mountain Restoration and Management Project in Rockingham County, Va., and Pendleton County, W.Va. Restoration and management opportunities will complement efforts on adjacent lands and will address vegetation, habitat, and watershed conditions that transcend landowner boundaries.
Jean Lorber is a conservation scientist with The Nature Conservancy, with a background in wildlife and forestry. Before working at the Nature Conservancy, Jean received an MS in forestry from Virginia Tech and worked for the Virginia Department of Forestry.
2:00pm – Break
Partnerships and Projections for Picea rubens:
Restoration and Recovery in Central Appalachia
For more than 20 years Central Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative partners have advanced Red Spruce ecosystem recovery through collaboration. These partners have relied on practitioners’ expert knowledge, science, and innovative funding to restore nearly 6,000 acres. This talk will provide an overview of new restoration strategies, research, and the collaboration between science and management that is essential with the impending impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems in Central Appalachia.
Katy Barlow works for The Nature Conservancy’s Central Appalachians program as the restoration and public lands manager. Katy is a resident of Tucker County, WV where she spends her free time wandering in the mountains regardless of the weather. She received her BS from the University of Connecticut and her MS and PhD in ecology from the Pennsylvania State University