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Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park

Research Park Notes
Issue 3, December 19, 2000

Welcome to Research Park Notes! Look for tidbits of information on National Environmental Research Park activities, observations, and users every couple of weeks. To provide newsletter input, request additional information, make comments, or add/delete mailing list names, contact the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Area Manager, Pat Parr.

PARK RESEARCH AND USERS

Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Research - Dr. Kazuhiko Kobayashi, National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences (Tsukuba, Japan)

Dr. Kazuhiko Kobayashi presented an informal seminar last week on "Responses of rice plants and paddy ecosystem to elevated CO2 in Japanese FACE." Dr. Kobayashi is the leader of the Japanese FACE (Free-Air CO2 Enrichment) research project. He was here to discuss archiving the Japanese FACE data at ORNL's Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. He visited the Oak Ridge FACE site where responses of a deciduous hardwood system are being investigated. He also saw the Throughfall Displacement Experiment, a huge precipitation manipulation study at Walker Branch Watershed, which is also related to global climate change research.

Rare Northern White Cedar - Gary Walker, Appalachian State University

Dr. Gary Walker, professor from Appalachian State University and international expert on northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), visited the one site of this rare cedar (listed as special concern in Tennessee) on the Oak Ridge Reservation on December 8, 2000. Because of the interest in this population, which grows along the steep banks south of the Robotics facility at ORNL, four University of Tennessee graduate students (Joey Shaw, Courtney Murren, Lindsay Smith, Ed Lickey), University of Tennessee Professor emeritus Dr. Ed Clebsch, botanist Larry Pounds, geologist Dick Kettelle of Bechtel Jacobs, and ORNL Area Manager Pat Parr accompanied him. Dr. Walker’s research involves disjunct stands of northern white cedar. Southern disjunct stands of white cedar have higher levels of genetic variation than those in the main range, around the Great Lakes region. This high level of variation is likely attributable to the observation that this species is capable of asexual reproduction and that the populations have likely existed for long periods of time, likely through several glacial advances and retreats. The Oak Ridge Reservation population would provide further information about the genetic structure of these glacial relicts. Because most of the disjunct populations are separated by some distance, there appears to be substantial genetic drift among populations, making each one relatively unique genetically. Walker comments, “Natural areas, as those found within the Oak Ridge Reservation, are invaluable to ecologists such as myself. Their protection allows investigations like mine, and will ultimately lead to better management of rare, restricted, and endangered glacial relict species throughout the southern Appalachians.”

NATURAL RESOURCES AND MANAGEMENT

Deer Hunts – Jim Evans (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Manager) and Warren Webb (Reservation Wildlife Coordinator)

A total of 85 deer were harvested during the hunt held on December 9-10. One (1.2%) of the 85 deer was retained by personnel at the checking station due to internal radiological contamination. The largest buck for the weekend was 166 pounds (9 points) and the largest doe was 116 pounds. The most points for the weekend were 10. The total numbers for the weekend of 85 included 43 bucks and 42 does with no recounts requested. This concludes the deer hunts for this year. 2000 totals are 203 bucks and 167 does, for a total of 370. Largest buck for the year was 180 pounds (8 points). Most points for the year were 10 (4 deer). Largest doe for the year was 116 pounds. Five deer (1.4%) were retained by personnel at the checking station due to internal radiological contamination during the 2000 hunts. See the website for more information: http//www.ornl.gov/rmal/huntinfo.htm.

Forestry Management - Dennis Bradburn, Oak Ridge Reservation Forester

Many of the dead trees east of Highway 95, north of Charles Vanden Bulck bridge, have been cleared away to prevent them from falling onto the highway. These were some of the many pine killed by the southern pine bark beetle this past year. Many acres of dead pine were able to be salvage cut. However, due to the enormous outbreak regionally, the dead pine in some areas (such as this and also those on the west side of Highway 95 at the bridge) deteriorated before they were able to be cut.

PUBLICATIONS

Biodiversity of the Oak Ridge Reservation,” a two-page color handout, is now available. It highlights some of the key facts about the reservation. As an example, did you know that more species of breeding birds (nearly 200) have been documented on the Oak Ridge Reservation than on any other single tract of land in Tennessee? A PDF version is available for printing (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0) or you may contact Pat Parr for a copy.

The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated by the Department of Energy in 1980 and is one of a network of seven National Environmental Research Parks. It is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory User Facility. The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated an international biosphere reserve in 1989. It is also a unit member of the Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve and part of the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB) Cooperative. More information on the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park can be found on the website at:  http://www.esd.ornl.gov/facilities/nerp/.


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