Ever notice those little orange flags and fencing about halfway between the caretaker's home and the gate near the satellites? That is one of PhD student Ben Connor Barrie's research plots! He is looking at the impacts of the surrounding landscape on the growth and survival of 8 native and 2 invasive tree species in forest patches.
He has planted seedlings in 4 forests along a 40-km urban-rural gradient in Southeast Michigan (Stinchfield being one of his 4 research sites). Within each forest site, he planted seedlings along another gradient from the forest edge to the forest interior. So far, he found that invasive species had greater survival closer to urban centers while shade tolerant tree species (think Sugar Maple) had higher survival in the rural forests.
The title of his first completed experiment is "The Impact of Land-uses on the Recruitment Dynamics of Tree Species." He still has a few more years of research ahead of him he will have more results to share with you!