Creating a Vision for SEAS Properties
The University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) currently owns 1761 acres across six individual properties in Southeastern Michigan, including Saginaw Forest, Stinchfield Woods, Newcomb Tract, St. Pierre Wetland, Ringwood Forest, and Harper Preserve. These natural areas accompany various other satellite properties owned by other university departments, existing as part of a broad patchwork of preserved property across northern, central, and southern Michigan. The diverse array of habitats across the sites and vast networks of local and regional stakeholders present a unique opportunity to reexamine the goals and management plans for these properties, and to further demonstrate the university’s commitment to land preservation, sustainable stewardship, and carbon neutrality. With these goals in mind, our team operationalized several interdisciplinary research methods during the course of this project, largely consisting of carbon sequestration and storage analyses, remote sensing, and social research considerations. Over the past year, these approaches were used to arrive at holistic, concrete recommendations for both current and future property uses and considerations, which will lay groundwork for forthcoming masters projects at each specific property. Our results point towards a wealth of new management and utilization objectives, including carbon neutrality and pricing, stewardship program initiatives, joint management models with land conservancies, and expanded curriculum opportunities within SEAS program offerings.
Cyrus Van Haistma, MS (CE); Lara O'Brien, MS (EI, CE); Maxwell Deyoung, MS (CE); Peter Siciliano, MS (BEC, CE), MA (Educational Studies); Zhengyu Li, MS (EI); Zimeng Ding, MS (EI)