A recent study in Costa Rica by scientists at Princeton University-Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the University of Pennsylvania-Ecology & Biodiversity showed how agricultural waste could help successfully remediate barren tropical forest sites.
A deal between an orange juice manufacturer and advisors for the Área de Conservación Guanacaste was struck that allowed 1,000 truckloads (12 metric tons) of orange peels and pulp to be unloaded on nutrient-poor soils dominated by invasive grass within one of Costa Rica’s national parks in the mid-1990s. The land was left to rest for sixteen years. Now, the forest has begun the lengthy process of regeneration and some secondary forest regeneration has been observed. The peels were spread over 3 ha (7 acres) and scientists measured an increase of 176% in aboveground biomass. The distinction between the orange-fertilized land and the unfertilized areas was pronounced. Orange-fertilized areas demonstrated more tree biomass and species diversity and richer soils than their counterparts.
This research shows what could happen when the environmental community and industry find a medium where they can work together to come up with problem solutions. Perhaps, in future, similar uses can be found for agricultural excess here in the United States.
Treuer TLH, Choi JJ, Janzen DH, Hallwachs W, Peréz-Aviles D, Dobson AP, Powers JS, Shanks LC, Werden LK, Wilcove DS. (2017) Low-cost agricultural waste accelerates tropical forest regeneration. Restoration Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/rec.12565
Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association
Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources workshops
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service/HTIRC Research Plant Physiologist/Adjunct Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
Take a look at the recent Indiana Woodland Steward Newsletter, a resource that’s full of a variety of valuable information to foresters, woodland owners, timber marketing specialists and any woodland enthusiasts. This issue includes topics such as a forest management, what private woodland owners are doing about invasive plants, the threat of callery pears, as well as much more.
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment, Purdue University FNR
Fertilizing, Pruning, and Thinning Hardwood Plantations, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
TCD-Black Walnut Trees, Thousand Cankers Disease
Environmental and Management Injury in Hardwood Tree Plantations, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
The Indiana Woodland Steward Institute is an entity made from 11 organizations within the state including Purdue University, Indiana DNR, and Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association that works to promote best usage practices of Indiana’s woodland resources through their Woodland Steward publication.
Brian MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University
Dan Shaver, Project Director and Forester
The Nature Conservancy
The No Adverse Impact approach to floodplain management was developed by the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) in 2001. This managing principal was the product of a realization; that despite the progress made nation-wide as a result of the National Flood Insurance Program’s minimum standards and billions of dollars spent on structural flood control projects, flood damages have continued to increase. Since 1990 flood damage losses have increased fivefold, costing the nation $10 billion annually on average. The No Adverse Impact (NAI) approach to floodplain management was designed to help reverse this trend by providing communities with the tools to reduce the frequency and severity of flood events, and to protect their citizens now and in the future. In general, these tools prevent the actions of one property owner or even a community from adversely impacting other property owners or neighboring communities. When applied at the watershed or regional level, this approach creates a network of resilient communities.
Planning for the Coastal No Adverse Impact Workshop began in the winter of 2015 when staff from Wisconsin and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant expressed interest in coordinating two additional workshops modeled on the “Great Lakes Community Resilience: A No Adverse Impact Approach” workshop delivered in Milwaukee Wisconsin in August 2014. With $2,500 workshop funding allocated to Purdue University from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Storms Program (NOAA CSP), ASFPM and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant partnered with representatives from the Lake Michigan Coastal Program, Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission, and the Porter County Survey to develop a target audience, objectives and agenda for this day-long event. Specifically this workshop was designed to provide participants with an opportunity to:
The Indiana Coastal No Adverse Impact Workshop was held on June 25th at the Hammond Marina in Hammond, Indiana. Over the course of the day, seven 30-45 minute presentations were given. The 41 workshop participants included certified floodplain managers, planners, attorneys, coastal resource managers, health department staff, stormwater managers, and local officials. In an effort to draw this target audience to the workshop , the planning committee offered continuing education credits for the following organizations and certification programs: Indiana Commission for Continuing Legal Education, Continuing Legal Education Credits; ASFPM, Certified Floodplain Manager credits; and Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyor credits. The beginning of the day focused heavily on No Adverse Impact, while the second half of the day highlighted flooding case studies and other special topics. The workshop was organized in this way to ensure that all participants had a strong understanding of No Adverse Impact and common legal concerns associated with floodplain management, prior to exploring specific applicable examples and topics in further detail.
The Indiana Coastal No Adverse Impact Workshop provided participants with the opportunity to learn about the core tenants of ASFPM’s No Adverse Impact approach to floodplain management, common legal issues faced by floodplain managers and planners in the region, specific actions that have been taken in Indiana to enhance flood resilience, the value of green infrastructure, and benefit of wetlands and how they are regulated in the United States. All of the evaluation respondents felt that they could apply the information presented at this workshop to their work and that presenters had given them the tools to implement the knowledge that was shared. In addition, all respondents noted that they would recommend this workshop to others. These results are reinforced by comments that were collected in response to an open ended question regarding how participants planned to use what they learned at the workshop. Respondents noted that they would use/incorporate the information presented at the workshop into various on-going projects and initiatives, and that they planned to pass it along to others who were not able to attend through technical assistance programs or interpersonal communications.
What comes to mind when you think of Purdue Extension? Agriculture and natural resources? Maybe Indiana 4-H? Right on both counts, but perhaps you don’t know how #PurdueExtension helps build health coalitions statewide. Or how we’re revitalizing economic opportunity in Indiana’s rural regions, helping immigrants acclimate to life in our state, or offering parents programs that build confidence and strengthen families. Learn about all of this and more in the 2016 Purdue Extension Annual Report!
Jason Henderson, Director Cooperative Extension Service & Associate Dean
Throughout the Great Lakes Basin, community leaders are challenged with long-term management decisions that result in substantial impacts to ecological integrity and community quality of life. To protect natural resources and enhance community resilience in the region, it is crucial to understand human-induced ecological stress, identify indicators of natural resource condition, and determine the tipping points at which systems enter undesirable states. Watershed managers, land use planning professionals, and community leaders require data, tools, and decision making processes to identify land use limits, evaluate the environmental impacts of proposed land use scenarios, and identify critical areas requiring protection or restoration to improve ecosystem health in a watershed.
The Tipping Points and Indicators program was created to assist local decision makers in Great Lakes states with identifying impacts of land-based activities that threaten the sustainability of ecosystems in their watershed. The program includes a web-based decision support system (tippingpointplanner.org) and facilitated community forum to explore policy and management interventions necessary to keep aquatic ecosystems from reaching critical tipping points and moving to unstable conditions.
Based on 2015 user advisory board feedback and pilot evaluations, the technology team integrated new and expanded data into the tippingpointplanner.org system. User interface upgrades, a website homepage redesign, and templates for easy integration of future data were completed in 2016. Th
e program is continuing to expand and develop through funding received in 2016 from NOAA, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Coastal Program, and the US EPA Great Lakes Program Office and the National Science Foundation. The funding provides the opportunity for collaborative work between scientists and Extension professionals at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Purdue University departments (Forestry and Natural Resources, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Civil Engineering, Agronomy, and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences), NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research, and the EPA Great Lakes Program Office. The effort is primarily focused on developing and delivering a comprehensive community based approach to integrate watershed and runoff science with community action strategy tools to identify nutrient sources and mitigate consequences. As a result, the tippingpointplanner.org tool will include additional modules for informing nutrient loss decision-making at multiple watershed scales and developing adaptive management capabilities to track progress toward implementation. Additional work is being done to further identify new areas for growth and collaboration. New grants received by the research teams are helping to support considerable expansion of the tool to include invasive species, natural soundscapes/noise, ecological food webs and urban green infrastructure planning.
Extension efforts are focusing on program design and community action plan delivery through curriculum writing, forming and convening advisory boards, and identifying appropriate communities for deployment. User advisory boards have been formed with regional partners from the program target areas including: Northwest Indiana coastal communities and the Lake Michigan Coastal Program; Northeast Indiana Western Lake Erie’s Maumee watershed; Fox River/Green Bay and the Wisconsin DNR; Saginaw Bay watershed and the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge; and the University of Illinois Resilient Watershed Initiative. The user advisory boards will provide feedback on new modeling tools, community engagement techniques, and will help to identify projects to support local implementation efforts. Furthermore, the new Purdue Extension program, Conservation through Community Leadership (CCL), is providing the framework for facilitation and action planning for the new community projects. The state-wide CCL advisory board has also provided input on program format and potential community projects. Advisory boards formed in 2016. Advisory meetings and initial community programs piloting new curriculum materials will occur in 2017.
Two communities completed action-planning processes using tippingpointplanner.org and Purdue Extension and IL IN Sea Grant facilitation expertise in 2016. The city of Kokomo, IN (pop. 57, 995) convened a steering committee and partnered Purdue Extension and IL IN Sea Grant and a private consulting firm to complete their updated city comprehensive plan in 2016. The Purdue Tipping Points team designed and led the facilitation and public input efforts for their land use and environmental quality working group. The daylong meeting attended by conservation professionals, city administrators, and nonprofit organizations resulted in prioritized action strategies for three HUC 12 watersheds that have been incorporated into their final plan.
The city of Peoria, IL (pop 115,070) collaborated with IL IN Sea Grant, Purdue Extension and the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering for a year and a half to design and implemented a research based public engagement program to support watershed planning efforts. Peoria’s Innovation Team is leading efforts for comprehensive watershed planning to inform strategies and placement of green infrastructure to meet US EPA’s long-term control plan requirements for combined sewer overflows to maintain and restore healthy water conditions. Peoria is the first city in the nation to meet long-term control plan requirements using 100% green infrastructure techniques. The Tipping Points team led diverse stakeholder groups comprised of conservation organizations, city officials, artists, and government agencies through a series of four meetings to identify community values and assets, provide education on stormwater and green infrastructure best practices, and identify the most appropriate strategies for their community. Researchers additionally provided advanced modeling techniques to inform cost effective and appropriate landscape placement of the green infrastructure practices such as rain gardens and bioswales. As a result of their planning efforts, Peoria has successfully started installation of rain gardens and bioswales, passed a stormwater utility fee, and is now embarking on additional education initiatives to raise community awareness about the new green infrastructure practices.
Feedback surveys and interviews with user advisory groups continue to provide valuable insight on the tool’s impact and guidance for community implementation and improvement. Participants consistently indicate a greater awareness of issues impacting their water quality and watershed management approaches such as education initiatives, nutrient reduction and green infrastructure practices. Furthermore, all participants indicate a willingness to recommend the program to others and intend to integrate what they have learned within the year into local planning efforts. Participant comments below reflect on the value the tool and facilitation program bring to their community planning processes: “It presented a disciplined approach to leading a group through contentious environmental issues and arriving at consensus and developing an action plan.”
Woodlands provide a multitude of environmental (e.g., carbon sequestration, enhance water quality, wildlife habitat), economic (e.g., timber, wood products manufacturing, tourism), and social (e.g., recreation, aesthetics) benefits to Indiana residents. The sustainability of these benefits is strongly tied to stability of the resource. In Indiana, 75 percent of the 4.65 million acres of forestland is owned by families. Actions they take on their property can impact the benefits woodlands provide all Indiana residents. However, many do not understand available options or sources of assistance.
The Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, in partnership with many other organizations, helps produce and mail over 31,000 copies of the Indiana Woodland Steward to woodland owners three times each year. This 16-page, two-color publication includes in-depth articles on forest stewardship and health, invasive species and pests, wildlife habitat management, economics, and more.
Subscribers owned more woods (71.6 ac) for a longer tenure (33 years) than the average woodland owner in Indiana based on data from the National Woodland Owner Survey. As a group, they were also more active managers based on the proportion enrolled in assistance programs and who had a written stewardship plan. Fifty-four percent regularly utilized information from the Woodland Steward. In addition, 51 percent of respondents have implemented at least one practice they read about from The Woodland Steward, potentially impacting an estimated 1.2 million acres of forestland. His use of print media to communicate with woodland owners could be considered expensive, but clearly a large number of woodland owners regularly read and utilize the information making the average investment per landowner much lower.