Abstract Detail


Donnelly, Anna [1], Holland, Marjorie [2], McShane, Cole [1], Jolles, Diana [1].

Evaluating the Effects of a 40-year-old Land Use Plan on the Vegetation of Three Mile Island, Lake Winnipesaukee.

In the late 1970’s a group of scientists developed a conservation land use plan for Three Mile Island on Lake Winnipesaukee, a 43-acre, mixed conifer and deciduous forest that is used as a summer camp. As part of this plan, the island was divided into four land use zones: urban, compromise, productive, and protective. A long-term ecological study was set up to evaluate effects of the land use plan on the island vegetation to assess the impacts of human activities in each of the zones. We expected to see obvious changes in plant species richness, abundance, and evenness associated with the different land use zones post-implementation, acknowledging that it could take decades for the vegetation to respond to land use restrictions. We collected vegetation data from 19 permanent plots in 2021 and added these observations to a 40-year, decadal dataset compiled by Dr. Marge Holland and her colleagues. We assessed variance among sampling years and the direction of vegetation change per species to get an overall picture of how land use zones compared. Some species like Pteridium aquilinum showed gradual declines across all zone categories, while others like Maianthemum species showed dramatic increases across zones. Compromise and productive zones exhibited similar trends with respect to species-specific vegetation changes, whereas all land use zones showed the most dramatic changes in different species of tree, shrub, and herbaceous plants. This study represents a small piece of the cumulative work on Three Mile Island to better understand the long-term impacts of recreation on New England vegetation in an island system. The outcomes of this work will be used to re-generate a sustainable land use plan that will meet the demands of an ever-growing population of nature enthusiasts and continue to enrich the culture of the island through community science and education.

1 - Plymouth State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 17 High Street, Plymouth, NH, 03264, USA
2 - University of Mississippi, Department of Biology, PO Box 1848, University, MS, 38677, USA

climate change
Land Use Zones
New England
Island Ecology.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PEC029
Abstract ID:802
Candidate for Awards:None

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