linfield center for the Northwest
Scenic Images
LCN Start » LCN » 2013 Community Engaged Research to the Classroom Collaborative Research Projects » The Effects of Urbanization Upon a Natural Forest

The Effects of Urbanization Upon a Natural Forest

Previous studies have revealed high seedling and sapling mortality in Forest Park in Portland, Oregon. One potential cause may be high nitrogen deposition.

Lichens have been used for decades as bioindicators of air pollution. Preliminary studies done in Forest Park revealed a dominance of nitrogen loving and nitrogen sensitive lichen species with a concomitant loss of nitrogen sensitive species. This finding is concordant with high nitrogen deposition.

Professor Nancy Broshot’s initial work in this project will involve conducting standard U.S. Forest Service lichen surveys at 25 sites in Forest Park, as well as at sites away from Portland’s air shed. The data will be used to ascertain the level of nitrogenous pollution in the park and learn more about the impact of humans on the park’s ecosystem processes.

Benefit to Linfield Students
Students Joey Gale, Leigh Ann Hanson, and Wes Hanson will learn how to conduct ecological field research in the forest. They will learn how to perform a standard U.S. Forest Service lichen survey using proper technique (includes use of measuring tapes, hand held GPS, and forms), identify and collect lichens, quantify lichen abundance, identify associated plant species, and use photography to capture the images of lichens and other plants, including close up details on lichens. They also will learn about the how to create a booklet with many photographs and data in an organized manner. The students will learn to work closely with a faculty member to better accomplish the tasks that need to be done.

 In addition, the students will be involved in writing an abstract for a conference and developing a poster if the abstract is accepted. The UERC (Urban Ecological Research Consortium) conference held every January or February in Portland, Oregon. It is widely attended by local scientists, natural area managers and region parks department personnel. Students are encouraged to attend the full day of the conference, as well as having them do the majority of the presentation of the poster to the public. It is an excellent way for our students to make important connections with people active in managing natural areas in the Portland area and build confidence. Students will present a poster at the Student Science and Creative Projects Symposium at Linfield. The experiences of conducting research and developing the booklet will help students prepare for graduate programs or environmental employment by giving them valuable research experience.