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Mark Megalos

Extension Professor

Jordan Hall Addition 4219

Publications

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Grants

Date: 04/01/20 - 3/31/25
Amount: $246,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The US South has 245 million acres of forestland covering 46% of total land use. This region is the largest wood basket in the world where 60% of US timber derives largely from managed softwood plantations and hardwood forests. These forest systems are major economic engines to rural economies. However, nationwide, forest resources has the lowest minority representation within Food, Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Human Sciences and even lower representation in the US South. Diversity enrollment and matriculation have failed due to poor intersections of academic support, peer community support, mentoring, leadership development, and “readiness” work skills. This NNF program builds on a pilot program to pipeline minority undergraduates from HBCUs to successful graduate training in forest resources at NC State University (NCSU). The proposed program recruits HBCU undergraduates and offers pre-admission mentoring and professional development for a Master’s of Forestry at NCSU. Our NNF program will recruit and retain four, high-caliber minority forestry graduate students and prepare them for matriculation and professional success through NNF-specific programmatic, curricular, and industry experiences in forest resources. Key NNF program elements are a minority Mentoring/Leadership Community (MLC), certified forest curriculum, and industry internships in the automation, economics, biotechnology, and science communication of forest resources. The NNF cohort will mentor minority undergraduates, disseminate their experiences, network with professionals, and participate in annual NNF program performance assessment to support pipeline sustainability. This project supports USDA’s goal to develop a diverse and highly-skilled workforce for employment shortages in forest resources.

Date: 08/01/20 - 6/30/21
Amount: $15,291.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

All 50 states offer preferential property tax programs that lower the taxes paid on enrolled agricultural and/or forest lands (Kilgore et al., 2017). Agroforestry is a land use that combines elements of both agriculture and forestry; however, eligibility criteria and other rules and regulations may prevent enrollment of agroforestry lands in one or more of the agriculture and forestry tax programs in a state. For example, minimum trees per acre requirements for forestry tax programs might prohibit certain agroforestry uses. Maximum tree cover requirements or minimum annual income requirements for agriculture tax programs could limit participation by other agroforestry practitioners. Such prohibitions, whether intended or unintended, would present a major financial burden on current or potential future agroforestry adopters, as forestry programs can reduce taxes by $8 per acre on average across the U.S., and much higher in many states (Kilgore et al., 2017). On the other hand, some states may have separate eligibility criteria for agroforestry, which provide opportunities for easier access than the traditional forestry and agriculture criteria. This project will identify and catalog these potential challenges and opportunities for agroforestry systems to participate in preferential agriculture and forestry property tax programs

Date: 09/30/12 - 9/29/17
Amount: $2,685,999.00
Funding Agencies: US Army - Corps of Engineers

The purpose of this initiative is to provide for the programmatic institutionalization and enhancement of compatible natural resource use in support of military readiness and at the same time enhance the maintenance and improvement of natural resources, including agriculture and forestry lands (i.e., working lands), through the operation of a voluntary, market-driven initiative called the Partnership for Sentinel Landscapes. The Partnership for Sentinel Landscapes is a coalition of groups representing conservation, natural resource, and economic interests to address preservation on a landscape scale in association with the military. The coalition will work in the public interest to advance national defense, conservation and working lands in North Carolina simultaneously to ensure that development or use of land, water, and/or air resources remains compatible with military missions. The current implementation strategy includes assistance for individual landowners active in specific aspects of the program. Private landowners will be recognized for the unique value of their land and land management practices, essentially "green readiness." These lands will stand as true "Sentinel" landscapes - protecting military readiness due to their location - and thereby supporting national defense.

Date: 09/01/14 - 8/31/17
Amount: $99,441.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

Climate change and its various effects represent one of the most serious threats to the health and sustainability of forest ecosystems. The effects of changing weather patterns are resulting in drought which in turn leads to damaging insect infestations, enormous amounts of standing and downed fuel, and catastrophic wildfire. Changing water regimes have been driven, in part, by changing climate. While some forest ecosystems may be able to adapt rapidly to climate change, the rate of change is expected to exceed the capacity of most forest resources to mitigate or adapt. Private forest landowners are faced with identifying and implementing various management strategies which will enable forests to either adapt or mitigate the effects of climate change so that ownership goals and objectives can remain viable. The Climate, Forests, and Woodlands Community of Practice (CoP) was launched in 2010 to provide a ready, 24/7/365 source of research-based information reviewed and written by members of the CoP. This project will achieve the following objectives: 1. Continue the active involvement of the CoP core leadership team comprised of representatives from all regions of the U.S.; 2. Continue the development of information and FAQ’s suitable for use by private forest landowners, particularly family forest owners, to improve forest resilience so that it can support the landowners’ needs and objectives. 3. Develop working partnerships with the USDA Climate Change Resource Center (http://www.fs.fed.us/ccrc/) and the USDA Regional Climate Hubs (and sub-hubs as appropriate).

Date: 11/30/-1 - 2/28/17
Amount: $3,832,779.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

Pine plantation forestry in the southeastern US is an important part of the regional economy, as well as the regional carbon budget. Climate changes over the coming decades have the potential to affect the productivity and carbon-cycling functions of these plantations. This research proposal is a combined effort by forestry researchers from several disciplines to conduct trans-disciplinary research, integrate analysis of data, provide an information base and generate a set of tools that will be useful to land owners and managers in the region. The project will also educate the next generation of forest scientists to address the challenges facing the southeastern US forestry sector, and transfer technology to the private sector to assist with rural economic development.

Date: 01/01/09 - 12/16/11
Amount: $38,526.00
Funding Agencies: US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Proposed work is part of a larger, multi-year effort to develop tools to identify vulnerable watersheds and to develop alternative approaches to manage and monitor nitrogen export from swine waste lagoons and waste-application fields. For this project, one objective is to validate an inexpensive monitoring method to detect and monitor nitrogen contamination of groundwater and surface run-off from waste application fields and swine waste lagoons. The method uses stable nitrogen isotope analyses (?15N) of tree leaves and cores to detect the enriched 15N nitrogen contamination from specific nitrogen sources. Prior and current work at the Lizzie Research Station provides an extensive temporal and subsurface geological database to validate the isotopic monitoring method; specific site activities will involve sampling trees on site for their ?15N composition and GIS spatial statistical analysis of these data to geologic data. A foliar and stem core ?15N database already exists for the NCSU Johnston County (JC) site which surrounds a 5 acre inactive swine operation; ground water monitoring and nutrient analyses are needed to delineate the extent of subsurface nitrogen contamination and complete GIS spatial statistical analysis of subsurface contamination to isotopic analyses. This winter, NCSU will convert the JC waste application field to timber production. A second project objective will begin evaluation of the timber plantation on nitrogen contamination using ?15N analyses and nutrient analyses of soil, surface water, and ground water. The JC site, in particular, will provide NCSU a unique opportunity to engage students in integrated studies of silvopastural culture, waste management, hydrology, and nutrient contaminant monitoring. The 5th quarter of this project will focus on dissemination of project results to targeted stakeholders via extension outreach activities with swine lagoon and forestry extension specialists at NCSU.

Date: 03/31/09 - 6/30/10
Amount: $80,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service

The federal government through the most recent Farm Bill have tasked states with developing state-wide forest resource assessments. The resource assessment will be used to develop competitive proposals for State and Private Forestry funds; those projects that receive S&PF dollars will respond directly to the National Themes as well as annual national direction developed by the U.S. Forest Service. In North Carolina the lead state agency that has been tasked with the development of the assessment is the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources (NC DFR). To assist NC DFR in completion of the assessment and resource strategies Extension Forestry will coordinate the project to meet all aspects of the federal final guidance.

Date: 09/15/07 - 9/14/09
Amount: $8,250.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

In this project we will develop a curriculum linking forests to water resources, green infrastructure, and other valuable ecosystem services. The primary audience is local government decision makers, both elected and appointed. The curriculum could also be used as a starting point for public and K-12 education. We will develop a series of presentations highlighting the value of forests to water resources and other local needs. Two specific topics include using forestland to manage stormwater and using forestland as green infrastructure in general. Presentations will be designed for elected and appointed boards. Because these local decision making boards have limited time, our presentations will be short and easy to understand including simple, commanding visuals, maps, and take home factsheets to accompany the presentations. Longer presentations will be available for those communities interested in learning more about the topic. All of this information will be available on the NCNEMO website. Finally, because economics is the major driver in growth and development, it must be included in the education of local officials. Local economic data, including cost of services of different types of development will be incorporated.

Date: 07/01/06 - 9/30/08
Amount: $82,578.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

Census estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, released in 2005, indicate that North Carolina is now the eighth-fastest growing state in the country. With this growth comes conflict over land uses. New laws and regulations are developed as cities and counties increase in population size and density, as areas are incorporated into towns, and as towns expand their planning jurisdictions through annexation and creation of extraterritorial jurisdictions. Existing municipal land use regulations will be quickly applied to newly annexed areas and new regulations will often be created to address the conflicts that arise between existing and new land uses. In North Carolina, a state that is 59 percent forested, these new regulations are often in response to the removal of trees within a local government?s planning jurisdiction that have been cut for development purposes?and not for the purpose of legitimate or properly conducted forestry management. Thus, as a result of this increase in growth and development, and the accompanying conflicts between land uses, local officials have expressed frustration and local governments have either promulgated new ordinances to protect trees under their existing statutory authority or have sought special authority through local enabling legislation from the North Carolina General Assembly. Citizen boards and local government officials, who often lack the knowledge and experience in forestry, are responsible for the development of these regulations and laws. This lack of knowledge and experience often result in laws and regulations that forces landowners out of forestry, forestland in to development, and eventually a greater loss of green-infrastructure for the community. In North Carolina, there are currently no activities focused on educating local government officials as to what practices, including the cutting of trees, constitute bona-fide or legitimate forestry management and practices. Literature does exist in the form of CES, IOG, and other state, federal, and non-profit publications that address either local regulation or forestry management, but do not bring the subjects together in an easily understandable format. This project will address the information gap that exists about how and whether non-industrial private forestland can be effectively managed under local planning and land use regulation authorities granted to cities and counties through the North Carolina General Statutes. Workshops and other educational activities developed through this proposal will focus on reaching the local governments responsible for developing and enforcing regulations that impact forestry. Participants in the workshops and educational activities will develop a better understanding of forestry and forest management and how local government regulations impact the natural resources with in their jurisdictions.


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