Domain

Invading the Gate

Mon, 06 May 2013 10:22:00 CDT  — by: Jane Brown, C'13

p1020651Entering the Sewanee Domain entices the promise of Sewanee’s esteemed 13,000 acre forested. Just at the gates however, an invasive species, the white pine, lurks. White pine, Pinus strobus, is an invasive species to this area. Conservation-biology students Drake Schutt and Daniel Williams have created a study to understand P. strobus‘ effect on the structure of the surrounding canopy, subcanopy, and ground flora on the site by the gates.

Entering the Sewanee Domain entices the promise of Sewanee’s esteemed 13,000 acre forested. Just at the gates however, an invasive species, the white pine, lurks. White pine, Pinus strobus, is an invasive species to this area. Conservation-biology students Drake Schutt and Daniel Williams have created a study to understand P. strobus‘ effect on the structure of the surrounding canopy, subcanopy, and ground flora on the site by the gates. To do this they needed an area to compare their findings to. They chose a similar ridge nearby that has not been invaded, an example of what the site by the gate would’ve looked like without the invasion. The non-invaded site is known as a woodland area, which is defined as a “variety of different habitats that share an open understory and plentiful ground flora” (Nelson, 2010)(Project Proposal). By comparing the two, the impacts of the White pine invasion will be more clear and quantifiable.

Pinus_strobus_drawing

To make a quantifiable analysis they will measure trees in the woodland habitats. They divided this site up into three different groups depending on tree heights ranging from 2 meters to tall canopy trees. By comparing the findings from the two sites a better understanding of forest of structure from the white pine invasion at the site can be understood. In a larger sense, an understanding of what an invasion does to the previous forest habitats around the Domain can be hypothesized as well.

White pine has its place on the mountain, but not near the gates. In looking to remove this species, Sewanee students are acting as stewards, hoping to improve the environmental integrity of native woodlands.

The Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

Cleveland Annex 110
(931) 598-1559 | oess@sewanee.edu

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