Paul Smith's College student lands paper in peer-reviewed scientific journal

Article sheds new light on ecological restoration of abandoned farmland

PAUL SMITHS, NY (06/25/2015)(readMedia)-- A Paul Smith's College senior published a paper in the upcoming issue of Restoration Ecology, the journal of the Society for Ecological Restoration.

Forestry major Nathan Piché worked on the paper as part of his senior capstone research project, which explored the recovery rate of soil on abandoned farmland.

More than a quarter of the forest in the eastern United States was turned into farmland between 1600 and 1900, leaving it in bad shape. Much of the land reverted back to forest when it was later abandoned, though. That allowed the soil to recover, but the rate of that recovery was not well understood until now.

Piché's journal article shows that while the soil near the surface in those areas recovers quickly, the soil found deeper down in the land takes longer, information that could help managers hone their ecological-restoration plans for those areas.

"Nathan did an amazing job with this project," said coauthor Dan Kelting, executive director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute. "He drove this paper, and I was fortunate to be his mentor. It's a great example of what our students can do, and it dovetails nicely with our new ecological restoration major, which begins this fall."

Students who enter that program will learn how ecosystems function, how humans alter ecosystems and how to restore function to those ecosystems that have been degraded, damaged or destroyed. They'll study different types of ecosystems, including wetlands, streams and forests and how they interact with one another. Students will also learn to work with people and communities to develop ecological restoration projects.

For more information about this and other programs at Paul Smith's College, call 518-327-6227, email or visit


At Paul Smith's College, it's about the experience. Paul Smith's, which was founded in 1946, is the only bachelor's degree-granting institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information: