Since 1983, the University of Maine Holt Research Forest (HRF) in mid-coast Maine has been the site of long-term ecosystem research. The site is an oak-pine forest type with several long-term data sets including avian, small mammals, trees and regeneration, herbaceous and others. We just celebrated our 35th anniversary and have experienced a number of recent changes including the funding foundation, retirements of the original project PIs (Dr. Malcolm Hunter, Mr. Alan Kimball, and Dr. Alan White), and transition to new leadership (Dr. Aaron Weiskittel). We are taking this as an opportunity to assess where we have been, current status, and future opportunities.
We received a National Science Foundation Field Station and Marine Lab (FSML) planning grant (proposal available here) in 2017. Development of a strategic plan was the primary objective of this grant so we hosted a team of external visiting scientists (October 4-6, 2017) to assist us in the process. This Board of Visitors included Mark Ashton, Yale School of Forestry and Env. Studies; Brian Kloeppel, Western Carolina University; Bill Schuster, Black Rock Forest Consortium; Jennifer Seavey, UNH/Shoals Marine Laboratory; and Hilary Swain, Archbold Biological Station.
As part of the visit, we hosted a one day research-focused workshop highlighting HRF and its 35 year history. After the workshop in Bath, there was a trip to HRF in Arrowsic for a tour.
The workshop was held October 5, 2017 at Patten Free Library, 33 Summer Street, Bath, ME. Attendees heard about the activities at HRF, explored current research opportunities, and aided the development of the future research agenda for HRF.
The speakers presentations (visual only) are available as pdf files in the agenda below. Links from the titles.
Workshop Agenda (Printable copy here)
9:00 am – Introduction and Welcome
Aaron Weiskittel and Jack Witham
9:15 am – Landscape Context of HRF
Ecological Significance of Kennebec Estuary –
Mitch Hartley, North Atlantic Coordinator, Atlantic Coast Joint Venture, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Land protection in the Kennebec Estuary –
Andy Cutko, Director of Science, The Nature Conservancy, Maine Chapter
10:00 am – Coffee break, Posters
10:30 am – HRF Research
Holt Research Forest overview –
Mac Hunter, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, UMaine
Research and Data –
Jack Witham, School of Forest Resources, UMaine
Forest Dynamics –
Aaron Weiskittel, School of Forest Resources, UMaine
12:00 pm – Lunch
Holt Research Forest Fern Observations (2000-2016) – Joanne Sharpe
Invasion of the Deer Tick – Susan Elias
1:00 pm – HRF Research continued
Of voles and seeds: demographic mechanisms linking tree seeds and rodent population fluctuations –
Alessio Mortelliti, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, UMaine
Long-term numerical and spatial response of birds to a group-selection timber harvest in Maine –
Steve Campbell, Conservation Biologist, Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission
2:00 pm – Wrap up and HRF Tour
We believe HRF has a long-term, vibrant, and dynamic future that will leverage our past accomplishments. We would welcome and greatly appreciate your knowledge, insights, and participation in this transition.
Send an email to um.holtforest @ maine.edu for more information.