Felicia Sanders ’25
Developing Metrics for Community-scale Biodiversity Restoration and Management
I collaborated with Friends of Princeton Open Spaces (FOPOS), which oversees land stewardship projects at the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. This work includes the removal of invasive plants and the planting of native plants to help restore biodiversity and ecosystem health to a heavily degraded area. Because FOPOS’ work is supported by donations and grants, it is critical to understand which management techniques are most successful so that resources can be used effectively. I conducted surveys throughout the preserve’s 18-acre forest restoration site to monitor and compare restoration outcomes. I divided the site into four regions based on how they had been managed, and then studied randomly selected meter by meter plots within each region by analyzing the plants present and their respective concentrations. I then used the identities and proportions of plants present to complete Floristic Quality Assessments (FQA) for each plot and region. These assessments can be used to determine how important it is to manage the land, as regions with high FQA scores contribute more to ecosystem health. This internship inspired me to investigate the intersection of academic research and service, and I hope to focus my future independent work on community-based needs.
Biodiversity and Conservation
Friends of Princeton Open Spaces (FOPOS) - Princeton, New Jersey
Anna Corichi, Director, Natural Resources and Stewardship, FOPOS; Andy Dobson, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University; Annarie Lyles, Trustee, FOPOS