Leadership Grant

Urban Wildlife and Biodiversity Initiative

$40,000 awarded to USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station in
Fellow(s): Susannah Lerman

The U.S. Forest Service's Northern Research Station, based in Amherst, Massachusetts, hired Susannah Lerman to lead a project to incorporate a wildlife habitat component to the NRS's urban forest evaluation program.  The end goal was to improve the Forest Service's overall urban forest management activities.  To that end, Susannah integrated metrics on bird habitat as an indicator of ecosystem health into the Forest Service's computer modeling software to develop an overall picture of urban forest biodiversity.  The data is being made available to a broad range of users including forest managers, municipalities, planners, students and volunteers for information on bird populations as an indicator of biodiversity and ultimately, as a tool to assist land managers.  Susannah completed her PhD in biology from UMass Amherst in May, 2011.  Her past experience includes scientific research with the Center for Biological Diversity in San Diego, CA; with the Ashuelot Valley Environmental Observatory in Keene, NH; and with the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences in Woodstock, Vermont.  The computer software into which Susannah's habitat modeling work has been incorporated is described in the journal, Landscape and Urban Planning.