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Student Spotlight

Alumna Profile: Martha Carlson

Degree: Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
Natural Resources and the Environment
Complex Systems
U.S. Forest Service Northeast Research Station

Dissertation Title : Monitoring The Health of Sugar Maple, Acer Saccharum

Advisor: Dr. Barrett Rock

Martha Carlson


Description of Research

Description of Research:  Sugar maples on 12 sugar bushes around New Hampshire are monitored regularly with sap, leaf, bud and wood samples taken to assess the response sugar maples may have to climate change stressors including rising temperatures, shorter winters, earlier springs, later frosts, and other climate change stressors. In collaboration with Liz Brady, a PhD candidate in the Chemistry Dept., we are looking for a biochemical signal of stress which may be found in maple sap.  The research team also hopes to develop an outreach program to NH schools, building on Forest Watch, training teachers and students to assist in this climate change research.

Previous Awards and Activities

Journalist, land conservationist, school founder, teacher, writer.  Recently working as TA for Dr. Rock at UNH and in NASA Summer Research Experience for 9 tribal colleges in western United States. Gardener and sugar producer.

Selected Presentations and Publications

Poster, Were NH Sugar Maples Defoliated by A PAN Event?, October, North American Maple Syrup Council. Novel, Sagas of a Vinland Timber Scout, 2009.


PHD, Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, UNH
MS, Natural Resources:Environmental Conservation, UNH
BA, English composition, Mt. Holyoke College

Professional Positions

Journalist, photographer, editor, various newspapers and periodicals; teacher, Somerset School; chair, Sandwich Land Trust; founder, head of school, Sandwich Community School; member, Board of Trustees, Independent Schools of Northern New England.

Related Links

Forest Watch,
Range View Farm
UNH Magazine Online Story - Are New England sugar maples in trouble?
Video news story on Martha's research, click here.