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Publication Date


Document Type


Study Type

ENV 312


Environmental Science and Policy


Alex Barron


Smith College’s MacLeish Field Station has undergone various land use changes over the last 400 years. Today, the landscape is characterized by degraded agricultural soils and pastures and the presence of invasive plant species. This is particularly relevant due to the large amount of funding allocated by the federal government to increase national climate resilience. This report investigates scenarios for more effective land management for the Southeasternmost 40 acres of MacLeish Field Station. We will compare land management scenarios of “do-nothing”, reforestation, pasture, and agroforestry. We compare these scenarios using rank sheets and interviews with MacLeish Field Station stakeholders to determine their values, needs, and perspectives. We additionally consider factors such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration, invasive species management, and financial feasibility. We find that stakeholders value increasing diversity of native plant and animal species, carbon sequestration, and educational value and research potential. First, we find that all scenarios would require manual invasive species removal. All scenarios would increase biodiversity, and carbon sequestration, and reduce the presence of invasive species. Pasture would require the least amount of active maintenance on behalf of the College. We conclude with recommendations for the future management of MacLeish Field Station and opportunities for future research.


© 2022 Rae Ettenger, Brianna Ray, and Silas Weden