Scientia Discipulorum vol. 4 (2009)
Assessment of a Forest Stand for Old-Growth Status at Point au Roche State Park, Clinton County, New YorkPotential old-growth stands continue to be located and quantified. Although there is no generally-accepted definition of oldgrowth, there is a set of attributes that describe old-growth forests. The Hemlock-northern hardwood stand at Point au Roche State Park in Clinton County, New York has been proposed for old-growth classification. The composition and structure of this stand were sampled between September and November, 2008. Attributes of this stand were compared with old-growth conifernorthern hardwoods. The list of attributes included species composition of overstory and understory, maximum tree ages, stand structure, standing dead trees (snags) and fallen trees (logs). The Hemlock-northern hardwood stand in this study compared favorably with old-growth conifer-northern hardwood stands for all measured attributes except the number and size of logs on the forest floor. Although abundance of large logs is an important component of old-growth stands, the Hemlock-northern hardwood stand at Point au Roche State Park could be described as old-growth.
The Impact of Meditative Practices on Physiology and Neurology: A Review of the LiteratureA general awareness of meditation has grown significantly in the western world within the last fifty years yet with little accurate understanding of the nature of the practice. In addition, the broad diversity of meditative practices and their variations of physiological results make a standardized study of effects difficult. Recent advances in technology have provided an opportunity for investigators to systematize their efforts so that the body of research may be more coherent. A more accurate understanding of the physiological and neurological effects of meditation will likely reveal means of therapeutic application for both individual and social benefit as well as further insight into attentional states. The preponderance of literature points to meditation as a practice facilitating a general return to neurological and physiological homeostasis.
Iraq, Times Two: A Comprehensive Counterinsurgency Strategy for AfghanistanWhile the United States continues to make military and diplomatic progress in Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan has gotten unquestionably worse over the last three years. Although the diversion of resources from the conflict in Afghanistan to the front lines in Iraq have undoubtedly contributed to America's current quagmire, it is now time to formulate an improved strategy to turn Afghanistan around from the abyss. Fortunately for the United States military and members of the U.S. diplomatic corps, such a counterinsurgency plan need not require generals to limit the manpower, and equipment from an Iraq operation that is continuing to strengthen the country's democratic hopes. Recent calls for a large troop deployment to Afghanistan in the hopes of diminishing the violent Taliban insurgency may be appropriate for a short-term American success story, but such a move would be drastically counterproductive to the immense progress already accomplished with respect to Iraqi sovereignty: progress that, to this date, has helped stem the violence associated with Islamic extremism and promoted accountability of Iraq's national parliament. What the United States should focus on in Afghanistan is building trust among the Afghan citizenry, raising the levels of economic opportunity, by establishing third-party structures to make a true democratic system work. Doing so would result in the Taliban-led insurgency falling short of its ambitions. Through a re-prioritization of objectives, the U.S.- Afghanistan mission will be restored, America's overall image will benefit, and its successful developmental and reconstruction effort will put a major blow in the sides of terrorist networks throughout the Middle Eastern region.
Long-term Impact of an Ice Storm and Restoration Cutting in a Rare Pine BarrenOne of the more significant natural disturbances in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada in recent memory was the ice storm of January, 1998. In northern New York, thick accumulations of ice on tree branches caused severe crown damage across 280,000 ha of forest, including a rare pine barren in Clinton County. More than half of the trees in the pine barren were severely damaged by the ice storm, especially small-sized jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and mid-sized pitch pine (P. rigida) and red pine (P. resinosa). Over 60 percent of the sampled trees were dead after 10 growing seasons. Survival of damaged pitch pine trees was enhanced by growth of new branches from epicormic buds on the main stem. Experimental restoration cuttings were used in portions of the ice-damaged barren to decrease hazardous fuel loadings, reduce the density of ericaceous shrubs, scarify the soil surface and stimulate the release of jack pine seeds from the serotinous cones attached to broken branches. After 10 growing seasons, jack pine seedling density in the restoration cuttings averaged 9,500 stems per ha. The experimental cuttings successfully regenerated new jack pine stands without fire. Meanwhile, tree regeneration in the ice-damaged, unmanaged stands was sparse and most of these seedlings were generally red maple (Acer rubrum) or red oak (Quercus rubra). This study demonstrated that ice-damaged, fire-structured pine stands can be successfully regenerated using mechanical site treatments in northern New York.