Presenter: Sonya Kaufman (University of Vermont)
October 26th, 2023 - The Southern pine beetle is expanding its range north, putting globally rare, fire-dependent pitch pine ecosystems at risk of being lost completely. As part of a regional assessment of pitch pine barrens across the northeast, Sonya conducted vegetative surveys of two preserves that are actively managed by The Nature Conservancy: the Ossipee Pine Barrens in New Hampshire and Waterboro Barrens in Maine. Plots were established in stands that were categorized into four restoration and stewardship options: mechanical harvest only, prescribed fire only, mechanical harvest and prescribed fire, and no management. All overstory trees were assessed, sapling and seedling plots were conducted, and tree cores were taken from all living overstory trees. Sonya shared with the group the study design, findings, and implications for northeastern pitch pine barrens management.
Sonya Kaufman Sonya is a Prescribed Fire Practitioner with The Nature Conservancy's North American Fire Team. She graduated from the University of Vermont’s Field Naturalist Masters Program in May 2023. She has worked in wildland and prescribed fire for eight years, with the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.