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Zena Ecological Restoration Initiative at Willamette University's Zena Forest

I am hiring three research assistants for 5 weeks during the summer of 2011.
Students will also have the option of continuing the research during the academic year 2011-2012.

Applications are due March 18, 2011 at 5pm.

We are undertaking a multi-year oak habitat restoration project at the 1600 acre Zena Forest in the Eola Hills of the central Willamette Valley, 300 acres of which Willamette University owns. Agriculture, development, and forestry activities of Euro-Americans have reduced the area of oak habitat significantly in the Willamette Valley, and most research suggests that less than 10% of oak habitat remains. This is significant because we now recognize the importance of intact upland habitat to overall watershed function, in addition to its importance to a number of threatened or endangered species. We will restore 340 acres of upland oak savanna, oak woodland, and wet prairie, using a combination of mowing, prescribed fire, invasive species management, thinning, and reintroduction of native plant material. We will measure the effectiveness of the restoration activitie through intensive monitoring in permanent plots. The ultimate goal is to enhance the fundamentally interrelated and collective functioning of these ecosystem components at the watershed scale.

Ecological Restoration Research Assistant Positions: 5 weeks, May 16 to June 17, 2011
Three research assistants are need to collect and analyze data from long-term monitoring plots this summer. Approximately 1/3 the time will be spent in the field setting up long-term monitoring plots, collecting understory and overstory vegetation data, and coring trees. Another 1/3 of the time will be spent in the lab entering data in excel spreadsheets, generating publication quality graphs and tables, preparing tree cores for analysis, and analyzing tree core data. And the final 1/3 of the time will be spent researching potential restoration techniques for wet prairie. Students may also be hired as part of my research group during the academic year 2011-2012.

Deadline. All applications received by March 18, 2011 @ 5pm will be considered.

Qualifications. Applicants must be rising sophomores, juniors, or seniors at Willamette University. I am in search of people with a strong interest in ecological restoration and the ability to work independently as well as in a small research group. Previous field experience, excellent organizational skills, the ability to identify plants, experience with data entry and visualization using electronic spreadsheets, and the ability to perform repetitive tasks efficiently and accurately are important. The fieldwork is strenuous, and applicants must be able to work out-of-doors in a variety of weather conditions. Exposure to poison oak is a daily hazard of this research position.

Compensation. Research assistants will receive a stipend of $1925 for the five-week research project. An additional $1000 stipend will be provided for campus housing and meals.

Resources. You may find these resources helpful for learning more about this research.

Foster, D. R. 1992. Land-use history (1730-1990) and vegetation dynamics in central New England, USA. Journal of Ecology , 753-772.

Habeck, J. R. 1962. Forest Successsion in Monmouth Township, Polk County, Oregon since 1850. Montana Academy of Sciences 21, (pp. 7-17).

Jackson, S., & Hobbs, R. 2009. Ecological restoration in the light of ecological history. Science, 567-569.

MacDougall, A. S., Beckwith, B. R., & Maslovat, C. Y. 2004. Defining conservation strategies with historical perspectives: a case study from a degraded oak grassland ecosystem. Conservation Biology, 455-465.

Sims, B. 2009. Forest Stewardship Plan for the Willamette University Forest at Zena (available from Dr. Arabas)

Savoca, M. 2009. Land Use and Vegetation Change at Zena Forest, Oregon, 1935-2005. Willamette University Environmental and Earth Science Thesis (avaible on the Academic Commons at Hatfield Library).

Stokes, M. A., & Smiley, T. L. 1996. An Introduction to Tree-Ring Dating. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press.

Swetnam, T. W., Allen, C. D., & Betancourt, J. L. 1999. Applied historical ecology: using the past to manage for the future. Ecological Applications , 1189-1206.

Willamette University Forest at Zena
Oregon Oak Communities Working Group
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board

Application Process. To apply, please submit the following items (as one document in pdf format)

1) letter of intent, addressing your interest in and qualifications for this position
2) resume
3) transcript (unofficial is fine)
4) the names and contact information for two references who can speak to your work ethic, experience, and suitability for the position

Submit the pdf document via e-mail to:

Dr. Karen Arabas (karabas@willamette.edu)
Associate Director for Land Conservation and Research at Zena Forest
Willamette University


This research is funded by a watershed restoration grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the Willamette University CLA Dean's office, and the Department of Environmental and Earth Sciences at Willamette University.



Questions or comments on this site? webmaster@willamette.edu
Last Updated 01/13/2011