July 28, 2017, 1-4pm: Saginaw Forest and Other UM Research Properties: Challenges and Opportunities to Connect with the Conservation Community

Friday, July 28, 2017 - 1:00pm
Hike Location: 
UM Saginaw Forest - We have a new entrance to Saginaw Forest in the works! Please meet in the southwest corner of the 2/42 Church parking lot off Wagner Rd. just north of Liberty. 648 S Wagner Rd, Ann Arbor, MI

Saginaw Forest was established in 1904 as an experimental forest farm. Plantations of 40 species were planted during 1904-1915 on mostly cut over farm fields, some highly eroded and gullied. Planting, harvesting, and thinning experiments continued until early 1950s, but forest management slowed and ceased with changing student and faculty interests and department missions. Recent challenges include lake and groundwater contamination by Gelman Sciences (adjacent to the property), streambank erosion, and forest regeneration/succession issues, including invasives.

We will invite SNRE faculty to describe recent research at the site, as well as to discuss how interests and activities on site are evolving with the school from interests in forestry to natural resources to sustainability.

How can the university properties contribute to the larger conservation community by serving as living laboratories of succession and restoration? If time permits, we will also explore Stinchfield and/or the Newcomb tract, additional university properties that also present living laboratory opportunities for the restoration community and illustrate the importance of university properties in the larger landscape.

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Hike Facilitator: 
University of Michigan Professors Bob Grese, Inés Ibáñez, and others
Bob Grese serves as Director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. His teaching and research involve ecologically-based landscape design and management that respects the cultural and natural history of a region. Grese is particularly interested in the restoration and on-going management of urban wilds and the role such lands can play in re-connecting children and families with nature. He has long been fascinated by the work of early designers such as Jens Jensen and Ossian Cole Simonds who borrowed from the native landscape in their work, as there is much to be learned about their designs and their fate over time. He has a growing interest in green roofs and other low impact design strategies. Associate Professor Ibáñez's major research interests focus on the current challenges that plant communities are facing in the context of global change, i.e. climate change, invasive species, and landscape fragmentation. These challenges are interconnected as they form the novel environment under which plants are growing. The fact that forest communities are highly dependent on recruitment dynamics makes the study of early demographic stages critical for understanding the impact of global change on the natural ecosystems around us. To isolate these phenomena, Ibáñez directs her research at the recruitment of dominant tree species, from seed production to the sapling stage, including seed dispersal, germination, establishment and survival during the first years. Results obtained from this line of research are essential to forecast reliable vegetation changes under future climate scenarios. http://www.snre.umich.edu/research/faculty/ines_ibanez
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