State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008NJ163B
Title: Cranberry Farms' Habitat Function in the Wetland System of the New Jersey Pine Barrens
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 6
Focus Categories: Wetlands, Ecology, Water Use
Principal Investigators: Wen, Ai (Rutgers University); Ehrenfeld, David
Federal Funds: $ 4,700
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 12,050
Abstract: There are currently 3,600 active cranberry farms in New Jersey, but this number fluctuates with market conditions. Abandoned bogs, embedded within the Pinelands landscape, become important wetland resources for wildlife and other biotic resources. The succession after the abandonment is a long and complicated process because cranberry cultivation has largely changed the original wetland soil, hydrology and landscape, while the remaining cranberry residues and weed propagules might interfere with the natural succession of these wetlands. Active restoration in the cranberry farms will accelerate succession while reducing the influence of agricultural legacies. I propose to study the interaction between cranberry farms and the surrounding Pine Barrens wetland ecosystem from two perspectives First, I will examine the seedbank in abandoned cranberry farms to compare the seedbank composition and viability in soil layers from before, during, and after cranberry cultivation. The seedbank composition and germination under different hydrological treatments will provide useful information for the forthcoming restoration project in the Franklin Parker Preserve, which was the former DeMarco Cranberry Farm. Secondly, in order to improve the integrity of the wetland ecosystem by enhancing the wildlife habitat of cranberry farms, I will evaluate the different habitat factors (i.e. vegetation and landscape) of the active and abandoned cranberry farms. This evaluation will reveal the important factors correlating to wildlife distribution within active and abandoned farms. This information will be important for the habitat management in both abandoned and active cranberry farms.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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