Preventing wildfires by controlling grasses

First-of-its-kind pyrogeographic study conducted by UMass ecologists identifies combustible invasive grasses In a first national-scale analysis, ecologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with colleagues at the University of Colorado-Boulder, report that across the United States, invasive grasses can double the number of fires.    One species, invasive cheatgrass, has a long, well-earned reputation as a firestarter, making wildfires worse and more common. It is now clear that this effect is much more pervasive than a single species, they report. The new analysis finds at least seven other non-native grasses can increase wildfire risk around the country, some doubling or even tripling the likelihood of fires in grass-invaded areas. Details are now online in the Latest Articles from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Post-doctoral researcher and lead author Emily Fusco, says, “In the southeast pine systems there is cogon grass, while in the desert southwest there is buffelgrass. In eastern temperate forests we have Japanese stiltgrass, and in the Great Basin we have medusahead. These regions are all ecologically distinct, and...
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ECo Faculty among USDA Forest Service Specialist’s Recognized for Excellence

ECo Faculty among USDA Forest Service Specialist’s Recognized for Excellence

Dr. David Bloniarz, USDA Forest Service and University of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Conservation was among two specialists that received a 2019 President’s Award from the New England Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. The award was given in recognition of the valuable, sustained contribution Dr. Bloniarz has made to urban forestry. Dr. Bloniarz works to provide critical assistance to states and other partners in promoting urban forestry in the Massachusetts and the Northeast region. He is internationally known for his work with i-Tree software that was developed by the U.S. Forest Service and partnering organizations that facilitates the assessment of value of urban trees in providing environmental services to communities.   To read more, visit: https://www.fs.fed.us/inside-fs/recognition/forest-service-employees-recognized-long-term-contributions-urban-forestry        ...
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Celebrating the Heritage and Future of Land Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

On October 11th, 2019, ALPINE, the Harvard Forest, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the Highstead Foundation recognized both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and UMass Professor David Kittredge with Charles H.W. Foster Awards for Exemplary Academic Leadership in Land Conservation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cVe4yOP9P8&feature=youtu.be...
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iCons poised to transform STEM education

A $1.25 million investment expands pioneering multi-disciplinary program at UMass Amherst  The Integrated Concentration in Science program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, also known as UMass iCons, is revolutionizing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, and will be expanding its reach thanks to a substantial gift that will foster more interdisciplinary research and expand the science learning model to other institutions.    Launched in 2010, the UMass iCons program has produced six cohorts of graduates who are already transforming their fields, communities, and the culture of scientific exploration. The program encourages and teaches undergraduate STEM researchers to collaborate across disciplines and exert leadership in tackling global problems, with an emphasis on communicating science to a wider audience.  Thanks to a gift of $1.25 million over five years from the Mahoney family—longtime UMass supporters including Richard J. Mahoney ’55 and Barbara M. Mahoney ’55, William E. Mahoney ’55, and Robert M. Mahoney ’70 and Kathleen S. Mahoney ’70—the College of Natural Sciences will significantly expand the reach of the UMass iCons program by educating more students, positively impacting the commonwealth, and spreading the program’s pioneering educational approaches to other institutions.  “This way of learning is not...
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Green and growing

New rankings show UMass as agricultural and sustainability leader  After achieving a Top 25 ranking nationwide among public universities, UMass Amherst has once again distinguished itself among universities nationally and globally in specialized rankings reports set out this fall by US News & World Report and Princeton Review.  Princeton Review Top 50 Green Colleges  For the fifth year in a row, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been named to the Princeton Review’s list of Top 50 Green Colleges, recognizing schools that have “superb sustainability practices, a strong foundation in sustainability education, and a healthy quality of life for students on campus.” The list is included in the new 2019 edition of “The Princeton Review Guide to 413 Green Colleges.” Ranked No. 30 this year out of the 413 schools profiled, UMass Amherst was also among the Top 50 in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.   The Princeton Review tallied this ranking list based on data from its institutional survey of administrators at the colleges for its Green Rating and its surveys of...
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