Vermont Monitoring Cooperative Highlights
- Forest Health MonitoringMonitoring forest health at intensive, long-term locations is essential to detecting emerging forest health problems and understanding the impacts, severity and recovery from stress events. VMC collaborators from the VT Department of Forest Parks and Recreation and USFS Forest Health Monitoring Program have been monitoring such plots for over 25 years in Vermont.
- Amphibian Monitoring at the Lye Brook Wilderness and Mt. MansfieldChanges in amphibian and reptile demographics are useful indicators of environmental disturbance because these species are extremely sensitive to their surroundings. VMC has sponsored 20 years of monitoring and research, led by Jim Andrews, to detect these changes on Mt. Mansfield and the Lye Brook Wilderness Area. Jim has also organized and disseminated valuable information through his state-wide Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, inspiring citizens to become informed and effective wildlife s
- Forest Bird SurveysFrom the mountains of Vermont to the Dominican Republic, scientists at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies are studying how birds are responding to global environmental change. From the demographics of Blackpoll warblers, to mercury burdens in Bicknell’s thrush, to the effects of long-term changes in northeastern forest bird habitat, their research highlights a critical link between forest ecosystems and the species that depend on them.
- Northeastern Forest Health Trend Index Derived from Landsat ImageryTo monitor long-term trends in forest health across the state, a detailed canopy condition rating was applied to 25 years of remote sensing imagery. While forest health varies from year to year, overall trends are relatively stable - only high-elevation spruce-fir-paper birch forests demonstrated a significant decline.
- Federal Forest Inventory and Analysis Data for VermontThe Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program of the U.S. Forest Service provides the most comprehensive census of the state’s forests. Extracted and formatted by VMC staff, these Vermont specific data products provide timely, and regularly updated information on the distribution, condition and function of Vermont’s forested landscape in a format readily accessible by our stakeholders.
- Atmospheric mercury deposition monitoringMercury pollution, a toxic substance that accumulates in living organisms over time, arrives in Vermont from out-of state coal-fired utilities and the burning of other fossil fuels. This bioaccumulation can harm the health of an array of species, even leading to government warnings about limiting consumption of fish. Mercury levels have been measured at the VMC air quality site in Underhill since 1992, and VMC is continuously monitoring its concentration in precipitation and the air, building the information needed to help guide policy and reduce mercury pollution in Vermont.