April 24, 2012

CTFS-SIGEO Welcomes Indiana University Forest Dynamics Plot to Global Network

Indiana University researchers joined CTFS-SIGEO in April, 2012, increasing the scope and impact of the sizable temperate plot network. Stuart Davies, CTFS-SIGEO Director, is very pleased about the new addition, "This provides an important new site for the network. By expanding the spatial coverage of forest observatories in the US our ability to understand the role that temperate forest ecosystems play in the global environment will be greatly enhanced.

The research will take place at Lilly-Dickey Woods, a 220-hectare forest in Brown County, Indiana, valued as an important central hardwoods forest. Human management has been minimal for the last 150 years, and parts of the Woods contain some of the largest trees to be found in Indiana forests. The forest lies near the center of the Nature Conservancy's Brown County Hills region, targeted as a prime location for forest conservation. Lilley-Dickey Woods was designated as part of the Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve (IURTP) in 2003. The IURTP maintains natural field settings to enhance the research, teaching, and service mission of Indiana University.

PI Keith Clay in the Lilley-Dickey Woods of Indiana
IU's involvement with STRI evolved from the PhD research of Daniel Johnson, graduate student in the Department of Biology. "I wanted to start a project for my PhD thesis that would outlast my time here at IU," says Johnson. Thus far, the project has been funded by the IURTP, the Indiana Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation. Johnson will continue to lead the project until he completes his degree next year. Keith Clay (Professor of Biology and Director of the IURTP) and Richard Phillips (Assistant Professor of Biology) will oversee the initiative. Johnson has completed 9 hectares of the initial survey and the CTFS-SIGEO collaboration will increase the area of study to 25 hectares. 
Graduate student Daniel Johnson follows CTFS-SIGEO protocol for measuring trees
Keith Clay (Johnson's graduate advisor), when asked about the project, responded, "This is an enormous undertaking. Dan will be creating a substantial legacy. The CTFS-SIGEO plot will not only provide a resource for future environmental science research at IU, but the data collected will be used by scientists throughout the world to answer critical questions about climate change and other environmental issues. This project will spotlight the value of IURTP resources to the university and the global scientific community."