A key part of the design of the Grandfather Restoration Project includes adaptive management. Adaptive management describes an approach for improving resource management by learning from management outcomes. In order to learn from our outcomes, the Grandfather Restoration Project has undertaken a robust monitoring plan, including monitoring wildlife, vegetation, and watershed health. Monitoring provides reliable feedback on the effects of management actions, allowing managers to refine decisions and project design. Since fire is a key management tool for the project, many of our monitoring studies revolve around the impacts of fire on the ecosystem. One exciting study we are currently working on involves using wildlife cameras to determine whether wildlife are using our prescribed burn areas more than unburned areas. The pictures below are taken from wildlife cameras within the prescribed burn area.
The wildlife monitoring study is a collaborative effort, leaning on wildlife expertise from Pisgah National Forest and the Grandfather Ranger District, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and The Nature Conservancy. While we hypothesize that wildlife are using the areas within our burn units more than the adjacent unburned areas, we will not be able to draw any conclusions until the study is complete this fall. Stay tuned for an update in September!