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Natural Resource Management

Welcome to BNL's Natural Resources web site!  Within this web site you will find interesting information concerning the Natural Resources program (what we are doing and what we plan to do), plant and animal species found onsite, great photos of our habitat and wildlife, and management issues we are facing.


The Laboratory is located in a section of the Oak/Chestnut forest region of the coastal plain of Long Island, New York. Forest types are typically oak-pine or pine-oak. Chestnuts were largely lost during the chestnut blight that occurred throughout the northeast during the early part of the 20th century. BNL property constitutes roughly five percent of the 404.7 sq-km (100,000 acre) Pine Barrens on Long Island. Because of the general topography and porous soil, there is little surface runoff or open water. Upland soils tend to be very well drained, while depressions form ephemeral coastal plain ponds. Hence, a mosaic of wet and dry areas on site is correlated with variations in topography and depth to the water table. Without fires or other disturbances, vegetation would follow the normal moisture gradient closely. In actuality, vegetation onsite is in various stages of succession, reflecting the history of disturbances to the area, the most important of which are land clearing, fire, local flooding, and draining.

Over 300 plant species have been identified onsite. Thirty-one mammal species endemic to the site include those species common to mixed hardwood forest and open grassland habitats. The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) density is approximately 30 per square mile according to a BNL deer population surveys. At least 85 species of birds are known to nest at BNL. Over 200 transitory species have been documented at BNL, a result of its location within the Atlantic Flyway, and the scrub/shrub habitats that offer food and rest to migratory songbirds. Thirteen amphibian and twelve reptile species have been identified. Permanently flooded retention basins and others watercourses support amphibians and aquatic reptiles. Recent ecological studies at the BNL site have confirmed sixteen routine routinely used breeding sites for the NYS-endangered eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) and another ten used during extremely wet years. While ten species of fish have also been identifiedon the BNL site, recent drought conditions have resulted in most fish being extirpated from the site. Once aquatic conditions improve restoration of the NYS threatened banded sunfish (Eanneacanthus obesus) may take place through cooperation with the NYSDEC