Abaco Advanced Landscape and Ecosystem Monitoring Project

  • Title: Bahamas Pineyard Advanced Landscape and Ecosystem Monitoring Project
  • Principal Invertigators: Cara Rockwell, Mike Ross, Brittany Harris
  • Funding Amount: $1,014,000
  • Funding Source: Department of Defense Northern Command, USDA Forest Service International Programs
  • Timeline: 8/15/2022-8/14/2027
  • Partners: Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Bahamas National Trust, Friends of the Environment, USDA Forest Service, The Jones Center at Ichauway.

As a low-lying tropical archipelago, The Bahamas stands at the forefront of addressing both emerging environmental challenges and opportunities, a reality shared with many island nations. The Bahamian pine islands, characterized by complex interactions between elevation, groundwater salinity, fire, and increasingly severe wind disturbances, are a focal point for our project. Recognizing the crucial role of fire and wind in shaping these ecosystems is integral to effective resource management. Specifically, our focus is on the Bahamian pine forests, which are particularly responsive to fire management and vulnerable to wind damage.





Restoring Upland Sites in the Abaco Islands

Our project aims to restore and manage upland sites in the Abaco Islands following Hurricane Dorian. We will use aerial and terrestrial LiDAR to quantify forest structure, assess pine regeneration, and study plant communities. This data will guide fire management strategies, optimize prescribed burns, and explore the relationship between structural diversity and disturbances.

Activities include comprehensive aerial LiDAR scans of the island, detailed tree and crown mapping, and simulations using the QUIC-Fire model to demonstrate fire behavior impacts. We will also recruit a local student for a Master’s degree to build local expertise.

QUIC-Fire, developed by the Athens Prescribed Fire Technology Hub, allows fire managers to test scenarios and optimize prescribed burns, improving forest management and reducing smoke production. Our approach will help quantify forest biomass, timber resources, and hurricane impacts