USDA Grant Supports Environmental Science Research at Allegheny College

April 9, 2012 — Allegheny College has received a $35,500 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture in support of Professor of Environmental Science Rich Bowden’s project “Long-term controls on forest soil carbon quantity and quality.”

The primary goal of Bowden’s project is to examine the ability of forests to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in soils. Carbon dioxide is the primary pollutant involved in human-induced climate change. The project continues a two-decade experiment at Allegheny College’s Bousson Experimental Forest that examines exchanges between forest trees and soil.

The work at Bousson is part of a larger network of similar experiments being conducted across the United States and Europe. Investigators from a number of universities – including Harvard University, Oregon State University, and the Universities of Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oregon, California (Davis) and Toronto – are also assisting with the study.

“These institutions are invaluable in providing additional analyses of soil biology and chemistry, thus enhancing the overall value of this USDA support,” said Bowden. “Furthermore, our students learn additional field, laboratory and networking skills through these collaborations.”

The mission of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to stimulate and fund the research and technological innovations that will enhance American agriculture and make it more productive and environmentally sustainable while ensuring the economic viability of agriculture and production.