Ecology and management of a globally-rare community
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve protects the remnants of a northeastern interior pine barrens ecosystem located between the cities of Albany and Schenectady in east-central New York State. The ecosystem is characterized by undulating sand dunes and supports a variety of ecological communities that are adapted to xeric conditions and periodic fires. Most notably, the ecosystem contains the globally-rare inland pitch pine–scrub oak barrens ecological community. The preserve is actively managed to restore and maintain pitch pine-scrub oak barrens using silvicultural thinning, prescribed fire, mowing, and herbicide. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is actively studying different aspects of the ecology and management of inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens. Some of these studies include effects of management on pitch pine recruitment, the influence of dune topography on microclimate variation, habitat use by fall migrant birds, and the response of native pollinators to mowing and prescribed fire.