BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The size and composition of forests is enormously important in heavily forested states such as Maine, impacting wildlife habitat, biodiversity, the environment, recreation and forest products. But how do scientists track changes that affect this valuable resource over the course of time?
Steven Sader, Ph.D., a professor of forest resources and director of the Maine Image Analysis Laboratory at the University of Maine, will talk on “Mapping and Monitoring 40+ Years of Forest Change in Maine’s North Woods,” at a MDI Science Café to be held at 5:30 p.m on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, at McKay’s Public House, 231 Main St., Bar Harbor. The talk will address NASA and University of Maine initiatives to use satellite imagery to manage Maine’s forest landscape.
MDI Science Cafes are offered through the MDI Biological Laboratory in fulfillment of its mission to promote scientific literacy and increase public engagement with science. The popular events offer a chance to hear directly from scientists about their latest research. Short presentations delivered in everyday language are followed by lively, informal discussion.
“Forests are integral to the Maine way of life, driving two of the state’s most important industries—tourism and forest products—and providing the backdrop for many popular recreational activities,” said Kevin Strange, Ph.D., president of the MDI Biological Laboratory. “The subject of this café—the changes in Maine’s forests over time—demonstrates how our science cafés engage the public in exploring science-based solutions for issues that directly affect them.”
Sader will speak on methods for monitoring forest sustainability across large landscapes, addressing such issues as estimating forest biomass, assessing vulnerability to an outbreak of spruce budworm, monitoring conservation easements, and evaluating the impact of harvest and regeneration patterns. The goal of his research is to develop remote sensing and large landscape modeling methods that are applicable not only to Maine, but throughout the world.
Maine is the nation’s most heavily forested state—with about 90 percent of its land mass covered by forests. About 39 species of trees are used for commercial purposes. As a result, even the smallest changes to the forest can have a wide-ranging impact. For this reason, Sader has noted, it is critical for researchers and natural resource managers to have access to the most advanced information and technologies in order to plan for the future.
In honor of Acadia National Park’s centennial, the 2016 MDI Science Café schedule includes several presentations on biological research relevant to the national park. The topic of the next MDI Science Café, to be held on Wednesday, May 4, will be air pollution in the park.
MDI Science Cafés, which are sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Cross Insurance and McKay’s Public House, are open to the public and free of charge. Refreshments will be available. For more information, visit mdibl.org/events/science-cafes/ or call 207-288-3147.