Daniel DePinte B.S/M.F.I am currently in the accelerated forestry program at Northern Arizona University. With this program I am simultaneously starting my Masters of Forestry degree and finishing my Bachelor of Science-Forestry degree. My current research for my undergraduate Hooper fellowship focuses on agricultural applications for ponderosa pine biochar and my graduate work will attempt to fill a knowledge gap for natural resource managers on the insects which consume the seeds of the Southwestern white pine.
The production of biochar from ponderosa pine trees has the potential to battle climate change through carbon sequestration, create alternative fuels via the creation of syngas, improve water conservation by increasing moisture retention rates in the soil, and increase fertility with its amazing cation exchange capacity. The research in the southwest has only just begun and the potential for helping create a positive change is what interests me the most.
For my Masters of Forestry project I have been capturing the insects that are found on the seeds and cones of the Southwestern white pine. I placed pollination bags over the cones during different times of the year in multiple locations throughout Arizona and New Mexico. In the fall we clipped the bags and brought them back to the laboratory. If the insects were in their adult stage we categorized them for taxonomic identification to the species level. If they were in the larvae or pupa stage I placed them in miniature growth chambers to rear them until they reach the adult stage for easier identification. A variety of other data has been collected as well and will be used for empirical analysis.