Kristen, SLT's Conservation Program Manager, and Stowe High School teacher, Don McDowell, worked with Don’s AP Environmental Studies class to set up a long-term forest study at Wiessner Woods at the end of January. Students inventoried and measured trees in permanent plots, collecting data that creates a snapshot of the composition and condition of the forest which will be tracked over time. Of particular interest, the students documented that a high proportion of trees in the forest are big (greater than 20" in diameter) and there are some very big (greater than 30” in diameter) trees also present. This characteristic combined with other features (lots of logs and cavity trees, and a developing understory) are all indicative of a much older and more complex forest than we typically find across much of VT.
The information that students collect will be used to build a database. “The real beauty of this is to have future students look at the data years from now and see how it’s changed,” McDowell said. “What is Stowe going to look like? What is the forest going to look like? What will be the effects of climate change?”
See the Stowe Reporter's article on the project here: Stowe Reporter.