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Penobscot Experimental Forest

Featured Partnership

WaYS Forward

Working Together

Though the PEF was established by the Chief of the Forest Service to address research issues of regional concern, our partnership with the University of Maine and attention to questions at larger scales are critical to our long-term success.  Over time, our collaborations and scope have grown, resulting in greater applicability of results.

[photo:] U.S. Forest Service, University of Maine, and Maine Forest Service staff with former Chief Dale Bosworth (standing, center) on the PEF in 2005.Partnerships

Collaboration with the University of Maine is the cornerstone of the Forest Service’s research program on the PEF. The largest study on the PEF aside from the Forest Service’s long-term silvicultural experiment is the University’s Acadian Forest Ecosystem Program, which explores the outcomes of ecological forestry. That study was initiated in the mid 1990s and has generated numerous findings outside the scope of the Forest Service experiment. The University Forests Office is responsible for management of areas not currently in research, and for overseeing administration of the forest. A Research Operations Team consisting of Forest Service scientists and University faculty coordinates activities and reviews proposals for new research installations. In addition, many scientists from other agencies and institutions in the U.S. and Canada commonly use the PEF for their work.

Maine Forest and Logging Museum

With grant funding from the USDA Forest Service’ s Research & Development program, sculptor and Maine Master Naturalist Grace Bartlett constructed two 6-foot-tall wooden pine cones on the grounds of the Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Maine. The research is demonstrating forest change.

The first pine cone was built of hemlock in the summer of 2015; a cedar version followed in October of the same year. The project has drawn interest from Museum visitors and has introduced many of them to the Penobscot Experimental Forest.

Rick Dionne, a forester at the Penobscot Experimental Forest, will continue to help monitor decomposition of the sculptures.

WaYS Forward

The USDA Forest Service is proud to be part of WaYS Forward, a student internship program associated with Wabanaki Youth Science (WaYS), a program that integrates the cultural knowledge of the Wabanaki people of Maine with the knowledge of western science.  In WaYS Forward, young people have an opportunity to work with researchers on the Penobscot Experimental Forest on data collection and other projects that introduce them to forest research. WaYS Forward is a cooperation among the U.S. Forest Service, the Penobscot Nation, University of Maine, Forest Guild, and Maine Audubon.  Funding for the program was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Biomass Harvesting and Fuels Reduction

This research collaboration with the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, Maine Forest Service, University of Maine, and University of Massachusetts repurposes a slash disposal study established on the Penobscot Experimental Forest in 1964-65 to answer new questions about long-term effects of biomass harvesting on site and stand productivity. Work is continuing today with repeated harvesting, burning for fuels mitigation, productivity assessment with near-infrared imagery, and evaluation of understory plant response and browsing impacts. Funding is provided by the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Maine Forest Service, University of Maine, and Northeastern States Research Cooperative.

Advisory Committees

The Research Operations Team (ROT), a committee consisting of researchers from the U.S. Forest Service and University of Maine, works with the University Forests Office to manage activities on the PEF.  The ROT reviews proposals for new studies outside the existing Forest Service and University experiments, approves the expenditure of a portion of the funds earned from forest management, and works with the University Forest Manager to set policies for the PEF.