Monday, January 14, 2008

So that's what I did over break. For those of you bad at pattern recognition, I'll describe it: hiking and beer.

now, back to school.

Its the second week of classes. I'm taking 19 hours, (whew!). Some of my classes are pretty exciting: Leave no trace, aboriginal skills, Invasive species, Productivity of forest stands, Forest Problems (which is my senior thesis), Evolution of the Earth. Some are not: Intro to leisure, and ow to get a job..or something to that effect. That one is through the school of business, which means it is absolutely useless to natural resource people. But hey, I needed an easy 1 hour, and it was there. I MUST get my gpa up.

I'm working on my thesis proposal. My last draft got a warm recetion, but it'll have to be piping hot by Friday, my first sampling day. Here's the first draft (well, the objectives any way):
1. Re-survey the nutrient content of these plots, previously tested in the late 1980’s in order to look at the long-term soil fertility of various burn intervals (Masters, 1993).
2. Test sites for variations in amount of nitrogen forms (ammonium, nitrate, and organic) based on time since last burn and burn interval.
3. Measure variations in C:N ratios based on time since last burn and burn interval
4. Measure variations in other nutrients to assess over all soil fertility based on fire return interval

We also hope to look at the change in these parameters immediately before and after fire. This will allow us to see the immediate effect of fire based on volatilization and burning of organic material, as well as the bacterial response to fire and pulse of nutrients.

The sad truth is, I know very little about fire, and little has been written regarding fire in the forest-grassland interface. I'm not sure my advisor knows as much about fire as I thought either.

Man, maybe I should go find a fire guy.