The 2018 Camcore Annual Meeting in Colombia is off to a great start. After a few days of meetings and presentations in Cali we headed south to the department of Cauca for two days of field tours outside of Popayán. Thanks go to Smurfit Kappa Colombia for sponsoring such a wonderful trip and presenting their interesting research. Special thanks are extended to the Smurfit crew in Cauca for preparing for our visit and showing us their well managed sites. We are now looking forward to the second half of meeting and seeing more of Colombia and its forestry.
Congratulations to Camcore undergraduate researcher Connor Winfield who had his 2018/19 research proposal selected for funding by the NCSU Office of Undergraduate Research. He will use the $1,000 award to study insect diversity associated with different forest types and management strategies at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary, NC.
The week of August 6th Willi Woodbridge and Andy Whittier with Camcore traveled to South Africa to assist Merensky in a wood sampling study. The goal of this trip was to analyze the wood properties of some of the lesser known eucalyptus species that Merensky had planted. Field work was a success due to the well marked trees and excellent crew assisting us. Thanks go to Research and Nursery Manger Sonia Du Buisson and Researcher George Dowse for coordinating such a smooth and enjoyable trip. Now on to to analyzing the data and processing the wood samples.
Following the May 2018 exploration of thirteen reported Texas ash sites Camcore returned to Texas during the last week of June to collect seed from nine of these sites. Both explorations and collections were successful and would not have been possible without support from Texas State Parks, the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, the Army Corp of Engineers, Austin City Parks, and the Tarrant County Water District. In total our collections consisted of seed from 80 new Texas ash trees located in nine different populations across central Texas. This collection captured material from much of the central portion of the species range. Future Texas ash seed collections will likely target outlier populations in Oklahoma as well as the southern and western edge of the range in Texas. While collections were a bit on the warm side and some of the samaras were not as mature as we would have liked we were extremely pleased to collect such large crops from so many new trees and make progress on this important conservation project done in collaboration with the US Forest Service.
With the arrival of spring in the southern Appalachians we returned to our hemlock restoration studies in western North Carolina to apply slow release fertilizer on the required treatments. This task was much more enjoyable without having to work with snow on the ground or wildlife messing with our trees!
During the first two years of the hemlock restoration study we installed game cams in order to get an idea of deer populations near our plots and how this related to browse on the hemlock seedlings. To our surprise browse was almost entirely absent on our trees even though deer were frequently photographed in and around our trees. In addition to deer we captured several bear, bobcat, turkey, coyote, and other wildlife pictures.