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Virginia Tech researchers work to preserve health of Stadium Woods

Aug. 18, 2016 – A team of Virginia Tech researchers is looking for ways to protect and preserve 11.5 acres of forest on the university’s Blacksburg, Virginia, campus commonly referred to as Stadium Woods.

The remnant old-growth white oak forest located behind Lane Stadium contains dozens of trees that are believed to be more than 300 years old.

This summer, Emily Newton, a senior studying wildlife conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment from Blacksburg, Virginia, established permanent plots that can be used to measure the ecological health of the forest over time.

Newton is measuring the size and species of the trees to establish a baseline on the forest’s current state. She is also examining whether new trees are beginning to grow from existing vegetation in a process called natural regeneration.

“Having this information allows us to take the actions necessary to ensure the health of the trees,” said John R. Seiler, Alumni Distinguished Professor and The Hon. and Mrs. Shelton H. Short Professor of Forestry. “For example, if we find few or no seedlings in our sampling locations, we’ll know that the trees are not naturally regenerating and that may mean we need to plant seedlings or take other corrective actions.”

Newton also worked with several community groups this summer to remove invasive plants, like privet, multiflora rose, and oriental bittersweet, throughout the woods. (continue reading)

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