Researchers with the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) have won two grants to help fund research and projects in the next year.

NASA awarded $46,260 to help fund groundbreaking research in the Andes region. Forests on tropical mountains are where much of the Earth’s biodiversity is, and the ecosystems there provide important services to people like clean water and storing vast amounts of carbon.  They are also one of the habitats most vulnerable to climate change.  The rugged habitats are almost impossible to explore, and the remote sensing tools that we have to look at lowland tropical forests don’t work up there.

This grant is to assess tropical montane forest ecosystems for the first time developing new remote sensing techniques including LIDAR and RADAR.  These techniques will let us look at forest structure over vast, inaccessible areas.  We’ll be doing it on two very well-known forest transects–in the Kosnipata valley of Peru, where several researchers in CEES and the Andes and Biodiversity Research group  have their forest plots, and on a transect starting at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica that runs up Volcan Barva.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service also awarded CEES researchers $9,600 dollars to help develop more than 16 acres of Reynolda Gardens into a meadow. The area is part of the original golf links on the property. The meadow is a hotspot for bird and butterfly watchers and will be an integral part of Wake Forest University. CEES members plan to incorporate the project into courses and student collaborated research projects.