Pair Pioneers Ecology & Religion Program by Liliana Varman

After spending four days by himself in the Mojave desert without access to food, Stephen Blackmer FES ’83 DIV ’12 found his calling. The 49-year-old had spent his life working to conserve New England forests, but said that trip expanded his views on how to protect the environment…

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New Haven's Arts and Culture

I’m really excited—tomorrow night I’m going to my first New Haven Symphony concert at Woolsey Hall in close to 15 years. For over a hundred years, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra has been playing for the citizens of the Elm City, and I really can’t wait to re-expose myself to some of the cultural history of New Haven. Something about entering a space like Woolsey Hall (see the picture!), and being transported to another place through sights and sounds… it is just an occasional indulgence into the arts for me (I’m more of a sports girl), but one I really look forward to!

When living in New York City, my favorite thing to do every summer was claim a piece of grass as my own for a few hours…

Bibliography - Keynote Address by Robin Chazdon

Photo: Austin Lord

Dr. Robin Chazdon has shared a bibliography of papers referenced in her Keyonte Address, “Making Tropical Forest Succession Successful” at the 18th Annual Conference of the Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters.

ABSTRACT – Tropical forest succession follows distinct pathways depending on prior land use, post-abandonment disturbance, faunal diversity, and the dynamics of the surrounding landscape. These distinct pathways determine rates of change in species composition, forest structure, and ecosystem processes. Metrics of “success” during forest regrowth are largely determined by values of different stakeholders. Conservation biologists value regrowth as habitats for endemic species and forest specialists. Local people value regrowth for numerous ecosystem products and services…

2012 ISTF Photo Contest

Every day a new picture is painted and framed, held up for half an hour, in such lights as the Great Artist chooses, and then withdrawn, and the curtain falls. And then the sun goes down, and long the afterglow gives light. Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862).

Community-based forest monitoring has been gaining traction as a means to achieving the elusive win-win scenario of sustainable forest management and meaningful involvement of local communities. The question is – How can we make it happen? What does a successful community-based monitoring system look like?

FES Masters student Meredith Martin led a workshop on this topic, based on her personal experience with community-based monitoring of Agave harvest in tropical dry forests in Guerrero, Mexico. Most of you will know Agave as the plant used to make the Mexican traditional liquor, mescal, and its more widely consumed cousin, tequila. The Acateyahualco community has been monitoring wild agave in their communal area for four years, as a result of a collaboration with a local NGO and researchers from the New York…

Zoraida Calle from CIPAV. Photo by Austin Lord.

Zoraida Calle from CIPAV. Photo by Austin Lord.

Our first panel talk this morning came from an organization I heard many, many good things about, CIPAV (Center for Research in Sustainable Systems in Agricultural Production – Fundación Centro para la Investigación en Sistemas Sostenibles de Producción Agropecuaria). This group has developed strategies that integrate shrubs for cattle fodder, fruit trees, and timber into strategies they call intensive silvopastoral systems. These systems show dramatic increases in production for the farmer without using chemical inputs. If you think I’m trying to sell you on their work, you’re right. Indulge me for a moment while I tell you about what is so exciting about their strategies to improve the…

Keynote Speaker, Robin Chazdon, University of Connecticut. Photo by Austin Lord.

“When we look at forests, we see them as systems in progress, they are under construction”.
This is what Dr. Robin Chazdon concluded near the end of her presentation, while showing the audience a photo of a lush, green forest, with a yellow “Under Construction” sign in the middle. Entertaining, engaging, and educational, Dr. Chazdon spoke of the checklist for successful natural regeneration, using examples from all over the world, largely from Central and Latin America where much of her research focuses. Some of these tools included beneficial topsoil, weed suppressing plants, fire protection, and animal diversity. “You need the whole tropic system, to get a forest back”, she said. Everyone nodded. We know the importance of bugs; even if we don’t want them in our kitchens, we need them in…