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Capstone Projects

Management plan for brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) populations in South Africa

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 12:25
Abstract: Brown hyena, Hyaena brunnea, is a species that is found throughout the southern portion of Africa, including South Africa. The population of brown hyenas in South Africa has continuously been decreasing and is currently around 1,000 individuals. This drop in the population size has caused the brown hyena to be considered vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. The main conservation issues the amount of funding going towards hyena’s conservation is low. Also, the ecosystems that the brown hyena prefer live in have been turned into farmlands throughout South Africa. Another concern is the poaching of the species illegally, mainly to try and protect the farmers’ livestock. The goal of this management plan is to increase and maintain a sustainable population of brown hyenas in South Africa. The objectives of the management plan are to decrease the number of negative interactions with brown hyenas, implement educational programs, increase tourism that focuses on hyenas, increase the population of prey species, and to increase the amount of protected land throughout South Africa. To decrease the negative interactions between the brown hyena and humans, hyena-proofed fencing will be distributed to all farmers to protect their livestock. Implementing educational programs will include the residents of South Africa, rather than just the students, so that everyone gets an understanding of the importance of brown hyenas. An increase in ecotourism will be accomplished by creating tours that just focus on the hyenas in the area and increasing the number of prey species will start with captive breeding of selective species. The increase in protected land will start to create more land that there are more protections for the brown hyena, so they are hunted or poached. If these actions are implemented there will be an increase in the population and they will be able to reach a sustainable number, but if nothing is done, then the population will continuously decrease until it reaches extinction.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: David Gilleo

Management on a Protected Landscape: Black-Throated Blue Warblers (Setophaga caerulescens) in the Adirondack Park, NY 2019 - 2069

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:28
Abstract: Black-throated blue warblers (Setophaga caerulescens) are a neotropical migrant passerine that specializes in breeding within interior forest habitats, with dense lower strata. Since the Breeding Bird Survey began in 1966, there has been over a 1.5% decline in sightings of this species along survey routes. In recent years, it has been found that access to secondary growth during the post-fledging period is essential to physiological health for migration. In the Adirondack Park of New York, a protected forest, there is a severe deficit of early successional habitats, especially adjacent to large tracts of mature forest. Compounding on this, there is resounding public conflict in relation to forest operations. This management plan aims to increase black-throated blue warbler encounters on BBS survey routes by at least 1% yearly on average, or by 50% over 50 years. To increase populations directly, new early successional habitat, and understory nesting cover will be developed using a variety of forestry techniques. We will increase early successional habitat by 10% by 2034, 20% by 2049, and 30% by 2069. Understory cover is planned to be increased by 5% by 2034, 15% by 2049, and 20% by 2069. Public education will be increased by presenting residents and visitors to the Adirondacks with free opportunities to learn about how natural resources are managed. Public opinion will be monitored alongside this education to study how public approval of forestry relates to environmental education. By the end of this 50-year management cycle, it is expected that black-throated blue warblers, along with several other species, will benefit greatly from these management actions. In addition, the general public will have a greater understanding, and therefore support of scientific wildlife management, including all tools that are used.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Bradley R. Geroux

Management Plan of White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) Populations in Massachusetts (2019-2079)

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 09:15
Abstract: The Atlantic white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), hereafter known as white shark, is an understudied predatory species. The white shark is a species that is actively hunted for its jaws and fins. Not much natural history or basic information is known about the white shark. The goal of this management plan is to further understand the natural history of the white shark within the next 60 years. Objectives of this goal will be to carry out various surveys, and studies on the Atlantic white shark to understand habitat preferences, population sizes, fecundity, and food preferences. Actions will be to do mark-recapture studies, as well as aerial photo surveys. Another goal is to determine if the increasing gray seal population on the coast of Massachusetts is the main reason the populations of white sharks have increased in Massachusetts over the last 10 years. This will be done by taking the aerial surveys of populations of gray seals over a five-year study to determine if the population is increasing, decreasing, or stable. Then surveying the number of seals that are depredated on. It will also be determined by stomach contents if white sharks depredate any other species to determine if gray seals are the main food source for a white shark. Once the main food source is determined, researchers will be able to further manage the white shark. Outcomes of the management will be to understand the natural history of the Atlantic white shark and can more effectively manage for the population of white sharks in Massachusetts.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Bre-Ann Flouton Johnson

Thirty-year Wild Yak (Bos mutus) Management Plan for the Chang Tang Reserve, China

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 09:10
Abstract: Wild yaks (Bos mutus) are the largest of thirteen ungulate species existing on the Tibetan Plateau in China. They are non-selective grazers and ruminants, which allows them to travel in herds of up to thousands of individuals and survive on relatively low-quality forage. Conservation issues of primary concern include resource competition with domestic ungulates, hybridization, poaching, trading, and the potential impacts of climate change (i.e. lower average snowfall and longer ice-free period). The shifting climate allows pastoralists to establish permanent residences and keep larger livestock herds, which reduces available habitat for wild yaks. This management plan aims to restore wild yak populations within the Chang Tang Reserve to the 1995 estimate of 15,000 mature individuals to allow local subsistence culture to proceed. Objectives to reach this goal include increasing the population of annually fertile females by 50% in fifteen years, increasing connectivity between the Reserve and other fragmented portions of wild yaks’ distribution in China by 25% within ten years, and increasing landowner cooperation in wild yak conservation efforts by at least 75% within ten years. To increase the population of annually fertile females, at least five peer-reviewed articles focused on population dynamics and stage-based resource requirements will be published. These will require aerial surveys and fecal analyses. Furthermore, a mixture of optimally nutritious food plants will be planted in high elevation plots. Corridors with suitable habitat will be established between existing fragments to increase habitat connectivity. Surveying locals will help managers to identify uncertainties and to understand public awareness and perceptions of conservation need. Educational forums with supplementary materials will be provided to ensure locals are equipped to cooperate and to mitigate potential management issues, such as domestic-wildlife interaction. Locals of all ages will be provided education to establish positive perspectives of wild yaks and management practices, thus increasing cooperation. The management actions could increase yak populations above the Reserve’s carrying capacity (̴ 85,000) but allowing subsistence use will keep populations below this threshold.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: ManagementPlan_WildYak.pdf
Authors: Audrey P. Emerson

Management Plan for Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) Populations in Georgia from 2019-2049

Sat, 04/27/2019 - 14:29
Abstract: Gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) are known for their elephantine hind feet and flattened, shovel-like forelimbs adapted for digging burrows. Burrows offer shelter from heat, fires, and predators, and serve as refugia for more than 350 other species including, the gopher frog (Lithobates capito), eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus), burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) and the endangered indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi). For this reason, gopher tortoises are considered a keystone species. Gopher tortoises are distributed throughout South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi in the southeastern United States. Gopher tortoises are commonly found in upland habitats with well-drained sandy soils and diverse groundcover lacking understory hardwoods. Their diet consists of grass-like herbaceous plants, fruits and flowers such as prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), wild grape (Vitis vinifera), legumes (Fabaceae), dandelions (Taraxacum), and grass-leaved golden asters (Chrysopsis graminifolia). Ecological concerns threatening gopher tortoise populations include deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and disease. Sociocultural and economic threats to gopher tortoises include human consumption, illegal pet trade and habitat development. All these issues have been documented in Florida, where most research for this species has been conducted. The scope of this management plan focuses in Georgia where these threats are relevant and create concerns to gopher tortoise populations. The goal of this management plan is to increase and stabilize gopher tortoise populations in Georgia from 2019-2049. Objectives of this goal include: increase adult gopher tortoise survivorship by 6% in thirty years, increase gopher tortoise hatchling survivorship by 10% in thirty years and increase and preserve gopher tortoise habitat, by 20% in twenty years throughout the state of Georgia. Actions focus on promoting the increased survivorship of hatchling and adult gopher tortoises, and increasing habitat needed for their survival. Emphasis is placed on reducing adult road mortality, anthropogenic transmission of upper-respiratory tract disease (URTD), nest protection, implementing headstarting programs to reduce hatchling predation, and using conservation easements and periodic fire to increase longleaf pine habitat. If gopher tortoise populations continue to decline the ecosystem in which they inhabit will collapse due to their role as a keystone species. With proper management this species can have stable and sizable populations for the state of Georgia.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Courtney Cronk

The influence of a common parent on sap sweetness among open pollinated sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) offspring

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 15:08
Abstract: Beginning in the 1950s, the United States Forest Service began to look into the ability to predict and control the heritability of sap sweetness in sugar maples (Acer saccharum Marsh.). A search for genetically superior (sweeter) trees was conducted across 6 states, testing 21,000 trees. Only 53 trees were chosen to be parental stock for the “Super Sweet” sugar maple improvement program. These trees, cloned through rooted cuttings and scion wood grafting, were planted in the Grand Isle, VT clonal bank. One of the five progeny tests of open pollinated offspring from the clonal bank was established in Lake Placid, New York. These trees had their first evaluation at age ten. Each tree had its diameter and height measured, as well as its sap sweetness tested. Now, 35 years after planting, the trees were evaluated again. An inventory was conducted with diameter at breast height, tree height, and live crown ratio measurements. Of the 725 trees planted, only 396 trees remain. Only 258 trees were of size and quality to handle a 5/16” tap. Their sap sweetness was measured at multiple times though out the season. Knowing one of the two parents of each tree allowed for the comparison of the sap sweetness of the different common-parent groups. The data collected did not support that the knowledge of only one parent could be used to predicts a tree’s sweetness relative to any other parent’s offspring. The bigger picture progeny evaluations will continue the “Super Sweet” sugar maple improvement program.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Forestry
Year: 2019
Authors: Eric Mance

Alumni Campground and the relationship with seasonal guests and wildlife

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 00:45
Abstract: For our capstone, we plan to focus on the wildlife and human interaction dynamics within Paul Smith’s College Alumni Campground. The objective of Owen’s section for capstone is too develop a ‘bear-awareness’ program for the Alumni Campground. Katie is looking into establishing a wildlife management plan of the campground correlating with the evidence of determining where there are patterns of travel within the campground of the local wildlife.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Capstone Paper_3.docx
Authors: Owen Murray , Katie Reily

Planning and Future Management of the Adirondack Land Trust Glenview Preserve

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 08:51
Abstract: The Adirondack Land Trust purchased a 238 acre parcel of land, Glenview Preserve, from the Trevor family in 2016. The Glenview Preserve is located along New York State Route 86 in Harrietstown. The Glenview Preserve already consists of a heavily visited scenic vista of Whiteface Mountain, the McKenzie Range, and other Adirondack High Peaks. The property borders the Bloomingdale Bog, the third largest boreal peatland in New York State. The Glenview Preserve can be a perfect spot to incorporate a trail system to allow visitors the opportunity for non-consumptive recreational activities. When creating a trail system for recreation it is important to examine the impacts on local flora and fauna. A clearly designated trail system is the number one way to mitigate impacts on soil, vegetation, wildlife, and water created by visitors. Within the preserve interpretive signs will be implemented to educate and inform visitors on proper usage of the trail system. The unique thing with the area is the gradual grade of only 50 feet so the breathtaking views are virtually accessible to everyone who visits. Recreational activities allow people to get outside and enjoy nature and hopefully build personal environmental stewardship. The trail system will not only allow recreational opportunities for visitors but establish a sense of an outdoor community.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Capstone_Murray 2019.docx
Authors: Payton Murray

Proposal for Improvements to Alumni Campground Waterfront

Sat, 12/14/2019 - 15:42
Abstract: The Alumni Campground is full of potential. A front country campground in close proximity to many great wilderness experiences. Some of those experiences can be best reached by water and yet the Alumni Campground waterfront is not much more than a single “No Swimming” sign nailed to a tree. This lack of infrastructure has caused degradation of the shoreline as the user base for water craft does use the campground as a starting point for excursions onto the St. Regis waterways but due to a lack of durable launching sites they have created several eroded and denuded spots along the lakes bank. In order to accommodate the amount of use this asset receives and prevent further degradation this proposal is designed to give the Alumni Campground Committee a sensible set of options for structural improvements designed to suit the user bases needs and protect the valuable waterfront resources.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Parks and Conservation Management
Year: 2019
Authors: Tobias Calzarette

Programming and Marketing Aspects of the PSC Guide Service

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 14:49
Abstract: Research the existing and potential development of a marketing plan for the PSC guiding business, including activity specific materials. As well as, expanding the expeditions or trip experience branch of services to include all season activities with the consideration of market interest and tested experiences.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2019
File Attachments: THE FINAL DRAFT.docx
Authors: Cody Evanchick & Grace Seltzer