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Chadwick Rittenhouse

Assistant Research Professor in Landscape Ecology and Conservation

 

My research addresses the ecology, management, and conservation of forested landscapes. Specifically, I focus on forest disturbance and the impacts of changing weather conditions, extreme weather events, and land-use and land cover change on forests and the ecosystem services they provide. I use scale dynamics to appropriately scale responses to those impacts through integration of ecology and the social, economic, and political realities of forest management, conservation and planning.

Mapping conservation opportunity areas in Connecticut

“Mapmaker, mapmaker, make me a map"

 

Conservation opportunity areas are maps that identify what actions could occur – and where – to conserve and manage Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats. Connecticut is home to thousands of fish, wildlife and insect species, and 3.6 million people. All of this is packed in a land area measuring 70 miles by 110 miles! This project will provide maps to inform and support conservation decisions made by state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and local municipalities.

 

Mapping early successional forest habitat in Connecticut

 

Satellite imagery brings a new twist to a classic question: "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to see it, did it make habitat?"

Land use and land cover change have shaped Connecticut’s landscape for centuries. Despite the importance of early successional forest and shrubland habitats for New England Cottontail and other wildlife species, no comprehensive mapping of these habitats has been conducted in Connecticut. This project will provide a better understanding of the current amount and distribution of early successional habitat in Connecticut, as well as quantify changes in early successional habitat over the past 25 years.  This information can be used to develop or evaluate management actions designed to improve early successional habitat conditions in Connecticut.

Impacts of climate change on provisioning services of forests

An analysis of weather records confirms an old saying: "I used to walk through 2 feet of snow, uphill both ways..." So what does this mean for modern forest management?

Climate change has many implications for forests, including changes in carbon sequestration and storage potential, climate regulation, hydrology, and tree species ranges and growth dynamics. In forest management these changes are certainly concerning, but it is the day-to-day forest operations – those who conduct tree harvest and transport – that are often overlooked. Read the published article: Winter impacts on forest management

 

 

 

Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Center
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4087