NSRC Update – December 2013
- By Robin Orr
It’s holiday season to most of us, but at the Northeastern States Research Cooperative (NSRC), it’s also grant application review time! The NSRC is a competitive grant program that supports cross-disciplinary research on the northern forest. This past October, researchers submitted 110 pre-proposals, requesting over $10 million in research funding. After careful evaluation by review panels, a much smaller number will be invited to submit full proposals in January. By the time this goes to press, notifications will have been made to all who submitted pre-proposals.
The NSRC is about more than just awarding and overseeing research grants, however. It is also a vehicle for communicating research results to those who can put the information to use preserving the ecological and economic health of the northern forest.
The NSRC funds dozens of research projects each year that seek ways to protect forest health, maximize long-term productivity, conserve areas of critical biological importance, and to creatively balance societal, ecological, and economic goals.
No research can accomplish these goals, however. That can only be done by the people who own, manage, and use the forest. This is why one of the goals set forth in the NSRC’s authorizing legislation is the “dissemination of existing and new information to landowners, public and private resource managers, State forest citizen advisory committees, and the general public through professional associations, publications, and other information clearinghouse activities”.
This fall, NSRC’s Theme One office (in the Rubenstein School) hosted two webinars at which researchers presented their work to members of the public and after which participants engaged in direct conversation with the researchers to learn more about how to apply knowledge to their own situation.
Dr. Abby van den Berg (FOR ’99; MS-FOR ’00; PhD-UVM ’06), from UVM’s Proctor Maple Research Center, presented new guidelines for tapping maples when using modern, high-volume collection methods to ensure long-term sustainability of the sugarbush.
Dr. René Germain (FOR ’83), from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, studied practices of small woodlot owners in Vermont to determine how wood market pressures affected their use of sustainable management practices. Surprisingly, market pressures didn’t seem to affect their management practices, but participation in Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal (“current use”) program did! Webinar participants from Vermont, New York, and Maine then engaged in thoughtful conversation about how to promote sustainable forestry practices elsewhere throughout the region.
NSRC is planning at least two more webinars this coming spring, so stay tuned for details!
Also this spring, NSRC is experimenting with a new outreach strategy. We will hold a “brown bag lunch” series at Vermont’s Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FP&R) to facilitate direct dialogue between researchers and those directly responsible for managing Vermont’s state forests. Our hope is that FP&R staff, in addition to learning about new research that can affect the way they do their jobs, will be able to let researchers know what their most pressing questions are. The first-ever NSRC brown-bag session will be held in January, featuring Dr. Kimberly Wallin, and we hope there will be many more to come.