FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-16
Contact: Gary Lovett (IES 845/677-5343)
Geoff Ryan (NYC DEP 718/595-6600
Land Acquisition Pays Off For Forest Research
Forest ecologists are finding benefits from New York City recent land acquisitions
in upstate watersheds. Information about the trees on these protected water
supply lands is adding to a growing body of knowledge about Catskill forests.
"Our research suggests that watersheds with lots of oak and beech trees
are releasing less nitrate into streams than areas with maple and birch,"
says Gary M. Lovett, Ph.D., a leading ecologist at the Institute of Ecosystem
Studies in Millbrook. "New York City's Foresters have been helping us
figure out how the forest differs from place to place. This will help us better
understand ecological processes at a landscape scale in the Catskills and
The Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) has been working for several years
on a project to map the vegetation in the Catskill Mountains. This has never
before been done in a way that would allow for an analysis of species composition.
The project, funded by the U.S. Forest Service, combines on-the-ground tree
measurements with information from satellite images to create a graphic representation
of the various forest types. Satellite pictures taken throughout the course
of the season are carefully examined to classify tree areas into different
types. These areas are then field checked for accuracy.
"We are very pleased that our lands have been helpful with this important
forest research," said Commissioner Joel A. Miele, Sr., P.E., of the
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). "Our DEP
Foresters have contributed a significant amount of forest inventory information
from many of the larger parcels acquired by the City under its Land Acquisition
and Stewardship Program. This information about the
location and density of different tree species will be registered with the
IES satellite images to improve the accuracy of their final map. Encouraging
scientific research of this kind is one of our goals for City-owned lands
in the watershed.
Under provisions of the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement, New York
City is acquiring watershed lands that are important for the protection of
drinking water quality. The program involves purchase of lands or conservation
easements at fair market value from willing sellers only. The City pays assessed
property taxes once lands are acquired. Lands acquired are protected for water
quality purposes, with many parcels opened up for public access and recreational
use. To date over 400 landowners have chosen to work with the City to protect
over 30,000 acres.
Information about the City's Land Acquisition and Conservation Easement
programs is available by calling 1-800-575-5263 or by visiting www.nyc.gov/dep.
Information about IES is available at www.ecostudies.org.