Sustainable Stewardship: Maintaining Value in Hudson Valley Landscapes

Science & Management Forum
Hosted: April 12, 2014

The forum on caring for the land explored how science-based stewardship can help protect and promote healthy forests and open spaces, now and for future generations.

Presentations on threats our forests and natural areas face – from invasive species and climate change to deer overabundance – and actions that can be taken on a site-by-site basis to optimize conditions. A special focus was given to the overlap between sport hunting and conservation communities, with a roundtable discussion on advancing common ground.

Speakers & Videos


Charles Canham, Forest Ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

From Forests to Farms, and Back Again: Land Use Change in the Hudson Valley

Charles Canham is a senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Charlie's work uses modeling to understand how forests respond to stress, with research projects exploring extreme weather, climate change, and invasive pests like beech bark disease and the hemlock wooly adelgid. He is also interested in how biomass harvest practices impact forest carbon dynamics. Charlie serves on the boards of the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Adirondack Land Trust, and the Great Mountain Forest.

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Becky Thornton, President, Dutchess Land Conservancy
Preserving Open Land with Conservation Easements

Becky Thornton is the President of the Dutchess Land Conservancy, an organization that has protected over 37,000 acres of open land. She has worked with hundreds of landowners to plan for and preserve their land. This has included negotiating conservation easements, advising towns on planning techniques, and leveraging federal, state, county, town, and private funding to buy land and development rights on farms and open space.  Becky serves on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 3 Open Space Committee and the Land Trust Alliance’s New York Advisory Board. She holds degrees from Penn State and Northeastern Universities.

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Gary Lovett, Forest Ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Pests, Pathogens, and the Future of Hudson Valley Forests 

Gary Lovett is a senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. He received his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College. Gary’s work investigates how air pollution, tree species shifts, and invasive pests and pathogens shape forest ecosystems, with a focus on forest productivity, water quality, and nitrogen dynamics. His research team has field sites in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Gary advises the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

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Raymond Winchcombe, Wildlife Ecologist, Emeritus, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Deer Hunting and Forest Health

Raymond Winchcombe is a wildlife biologist and scientist emeritus at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. He received his B.S. from the State University of New York at New Paltz.  Ray’s work focuses on managing whitetail deer populations to minimize over-browsing and optimize forest health. For more than 35 years, he oversaw the Cary Institute’s controlled access hunting program – a model for maintaining deer at numbers that allow forest regeneration.

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Tim Bontecou, President, Tamarack Preserve; Paul Fersen, Orvis Sandanona; Becky Thornton; Raymond Winchcombe
Outdoor Sporting and Land Conservation: A Roundtable on Common Ground

Tim Bontecou is the President of Tamarack Preserve LTD, a hunting and fishing membership club in Amenia, New York. Comprised of 800 acres, the preserve’s rugged land is ideal for the recreational pursuit of upland birds, trout, bass, ducks, deer, turkey, and geese. Conservation easements ensure that the preserve will remain open for future generations. Tim also chairs the Dutchess Land Conservancy’s Board of Trustees, is a member of the Cary Institute’s Board of Trustees, and is President of the Webutuck Quest for Excellence Fund. He holds a B.S. in Biology from New York University.

Paul Fersen has been with Orvis for 18 years. He currently serves as Manager of Sales Activism, where he oversees the organization’s external communications. Paul has spent much of his life outdoors and has introduced countless enthusiasts to hunting and fishing. His essays on sporting life have been published in Gray’s Sporting Journal, Fly Fisherman, Fly Fish America, and Yankee Magazine.

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Preserving Open Land with Conservation Easements

Lecture Video

Presentation by Becky Thornton for a land stewardship management forum hosted at Cary on April 12, 2014.

Pests, Pathogens, and the Future of Hudson Valley Forests

Lecture Video

Presentation by Gary Lovett for a land stewardship management forum hosted at Cary on April 12, 2014.

Deer Hunting and Forest Health

Lecture Video

Presentation by Raymond Winchcombe for a land stewardship management forum hosted at Cary on April 12, 2014.

From Forests to Farms, and Back Again: Land Use Change in the Hudson Valley

Lecture Video

Presentation by Charles Canham for a land stewardship management forum hosted at Cary on April 12, 2014.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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