University of Vermont

Two RSENR Graduate Students Receive NSRC Research Awards

Christine Peterson and Christopher Hansen, RSENR graduate students
Christine Peterson and Christopher Hansen, RSENR graduate students

First year Rubenstein School master’s students, Christopher Hansen and Christine Peterson, have each been awarded competitive research grants from the Northeastern States Research Cooperative (NSRC).  The NSRC is supported by funding from the USDA Forest Service and, in turn, is a granting program that funds research focused on sustaining the Northern Forest and its communities in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Christine and Chris competed with 48 other students from the University of Vermont, University of New Hampshire, University of Maine, and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  They were two of fourteen students selected to receive funding awards of up to $10,000 each.

Christine, advised by Associate Professor Allan Strong, will use the funding for her research on “Powerline rights of way and population declines in early successional bird species: Making connections with private landowners.”  In cooperation with Audubon Vermont and Vermont Electric Company, she will study six declining bird species in powerline rights of way in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.  Christine hopes to provide a better understanding of habitat selection by these species and explore potential alterations in management to maximize their habitat use on both rights of way and on adjoining private lands.

Chris, co-advised by Associate Professor Allan Strong and Adjunct Associate Professor Paul Schaberg, will apply his award to research on “Testing the value of high resolution LiDAR data for assessing the structure and integrity of forest canopies that influence tree health, insect populations, and bird habitats.”  Using LiDAR remote sensing data sets of the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, Chris will examine the ability of LiDAR to quantify forest canopy vertical structure and canopy gaps.  He will then assess how well LiDAR-based interpretations of canopy structure aid in assessing tree health, forest productivity, and insect and bird abundance and diversity.

More information about the Northeastern States Research Cooperative and funded research can be found on the NSRC website:  http://www.nsrcforest.org