University of Vermont

Center for Research on Vermont

Early Spring, the maple industry, Vermont forests and more...

As Vermont’s record-breakingly warm winter transitions into spring, the evidence of climate change seems to be everywhere. The book Early Spring: An Ecologist and Her Children Wake to a Warming World by ecologist Amy Seidl, explores climate change on a personal level and observes those signals of change in a language and dialogue that everyone can participate in. See our interview with Seidl on communicating about climate change here.

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HUMANITIES 

With a 131% growth in production between 1992 and 2014, Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States. A recently released report by the UVM Center for Rural Studies outlines the economic contribution of maple to Vermont industry. Results show that maple production yielded between $317 and $330 million in 2013, and added between $140 and $144 million to Vermont profits and wages.

With its early recognition of civil unions and gay marriage, Vermont is seen as a politically liberal state today. But in 1936 it was one of the most Republican states in the country, with stingy welfare policies and a late enactment of laws to protect women in the workplace and civil rights. A recent study by MIT researchers, Devin Caughey and Christopher Warshaw, measured for the first time the shifts in relative liberalism or conservatism of all 50 U.S. states over eight decades. The study shows that states have become more politically polarized over the last 20 years--in both national elections and state-level policies. 

In this day and age, cell phones are ubiquitious among teens and a frequently used transportation communication tool. A recent study by UVM researchers Meghan Cope and Brian H. Y. Lee used data collected from teens at two high schools near Burlington, VT to examine how and in what ways teens use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to arrange transportation, what of transport modes are being used, and how those needs are being met.

ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY

A new report “On-Farm Biodiesel Production in Vermont” analyzes all Vermont state and federal regulations related to on-farm biodiesel production. The study, conducted by the Institute for Energy and Environment at Vermont Law School, aims to educate farmers on the potential laws and regulations around the process to help them convert locally grown resources into a product that will benefit Vermont environmentally and economically.

SCIENCE

With Vermont expecting to lose 71 to 100 percent of it’s conifer trees by 2085, forest soils in the region will store fewer nutrients and metals, a Dartmouth study finds. This research, led by Justin Richardson, indicates that changes in timber harvesting and increased precipitation and temperature due to climate change will lead to coniferous stands being replaced by deciduous stands. Deciduous trees cycle nutrients and store toxic metals differently than coniferous, so we can expect a change the soil makeup in the region. 

VERMONT BOOKS

Steel, a debut poetry collection by Burlington local, Alison Prine, was published last month. The winner of Cider Press Review’s 2014 annual Book Award, Steel builds from Prine’s own inner questions, the tragic deaths of her mother and brother, and making, what book award judge Jeffrey Harrison calls, “A dwelling for herself and the reader.”

The new book Vermont’s Trophy Trout Waters: An Atlas and Guide by angling geographer and author Peter Shea, gives stocking summaries for all trophy trout rivers, lakes, and ponds in Vermont, and includes 46 maps and guides. Shea will be presenting his book at Phoenix Books in Burlington on March 31st at 6:30.

STUDENT RESEARCH

The “Impacts of Transportation Infrastructure on Stormwater and Surface Waters in Chittenden County” is the subject of a thesis recently completed by UVM graduate Joseph Hollis Bartlett. Results from the study conclude that local roads--particularly municipal roads not under the management of the Vermont Agency of Transportation--are a significant source of runoff that impair streams in the region.

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The Vermont Research News is a bi-monthly curated collection of Vermont research -- focused on research in the Vermont "laboratory" -- research that provides original knowledge to the world and research that adds to understanding of the state's social, economic, cultural and physical environment.

Send your news items to crvt@uvm.edu

Funding provided by the Lintilhac Foundation and the Humanities Center at the University of Vermont.