By Marin Harnett and Jack McCann, 2022 Holt Research Forest Summer Technicians
We thoroughly enjoyed our time together working at the Holt Research Forest this summer! Despite the warm weather, we continued many of the long-term projects, completed our independent research, and experience the beauty that is a Maine summer. Our time here allowed us to develop new skills both in and out of the field, such as sampling techniques for various field methods and experience conducting and writing our own independent research. The independence of this position, along with the guidance provided by Maine TREE’s team of Logan, Lena, and Kelly, gave us newfound confidence with fieldwork and renewed our passion for conservation and research.
We continued much of the research done at Holt Research Forest, such as seed abundance counts, regeneration surveys, and timber inventory. For seed abundance, we collected over 260 seed traps and counted the abundance of all seeds within the traps. This data helps monitor and predict species abundance across the forest. The regeneration surveys help monitor the sapling health and abundance at specific locations throughout the study area. These surveys are done in 4m2 intervals for new saplings and at 200m2 intervals for older saplings. Lastly, the timber inventory provides an exact count of the mature trees in the forest along with their size and condition. This took up most of our time, and we collected timber inventory data in 33% of the research blocks resulting in over 7,000 trees being counted and measured across the study area.
When we weren’t out in the field, we worked on our independent projects. This experience allowed us to create a specific research question to answer surrounding how timber harvests affect various parts of an ecosystem. We used the large amounts of data collected at Holt Research Forest and collected our own data to conduct our research. Jack looked at how a timber harvest affected white-footed mouse abundance, specifically if the abundance of logs at a trapping site significantly affected capture rates. Marin conducted a study of the abundance of ovenbirds in the study area following timber harvest compared to pre-harvest data to determine how the recent harvest has impacted ovenbird populations in the forest. Our time at Holt Research Forest helped prepare us for our future in the field, and we enjoyed learning and growing our skills throughout the summer!