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The Bluegrass Restoration Project (BRP) was undertaken in 2002 to focus attention on ecological research in central Kentucky. The centerpiece of the BRP is Griffith Woods, a 750-acre research farm located in Harrison Co., KY. This University of Kentucky property is jointly managed with The Nature Conservancy with the primary function being ecological restoration and research. Griffith Woods, formerly known as Silver Lake Farm, has stood as a landmark on U.S. 62 near Cynthiana since the 1820’s. Extensive farming occurred throughout the property in the form of grazing of livestock and cultivation of crops such as tobacco, corn, and alfalfa. As a result, the property presently has a variety of cover types ranging from agricultural, old field, pasture, woodland in a variety of successional stages, old growth savanna, and post savanna woodland. The savannas were provided refuge from logging in the early 19th century by order of William Griffith, and as a result comprise the finest remnants of oak-ash savanna remaining in Kentucky. The savannas of Griffith Woods are extremely unique in a global context, exhibiting an arrangement of communities and species that is unlike any other region in the world.

Our mission at Griffith Woods is to ensure that the natural communities of the Bluegrass are understood, appreciated, and properly managed. Research focus areas include blue ash regeneration, soil microbe community composition, ungulate browsing impact, and LIDAR change detection. Additional efforts include a native plant nursery, cane restoration, invasive species monitoring and eradication, and historical preservation. Despite our commitment to research, our greatest accomplishment will be the protection of Griffith Woods for future generations to enjoy for its intrinsic value.

Measuring vertical structure changes in a savanna-woodland with LiDAR

LiDAR flights provided by:

Photo Science, Lexington, Ky



Andrew I. Berry
Dept of Biology
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506

LiDAR is now emerging as a valuable tool for ecological research and forestry applications. LiDAR was used to create a digital elevation model (1.28 sq meter pixel resolution) of the ground surface and a woody vegetation dataset (.32 sq meter pixel resolution) for a savanna-woodland in central Kentucky. The woody vegetation dataset was reclassified into 1.6 m height intervals in order to create vertical structure profiles for areas 50 sq m based upon a grid overlay. A second LiDAR flight in January 2006 will enable change detection in the vertical structure profile over one year. Vertical accuracy and horizontal precision of the change detection will be tested on five sites; invasive shrub removal in a woodlot, invasive shrub removal in a savanna-woodland, beaver tree felling disturbance, georeferenced posts and branches, and controls. These tests will be used to determine if LiDAR can detect either positive or negative changes in vertical structure. This research will facilitate our ability to detect and measure changes in forest structure that are difficult to survey using traditional methods. Replication of spatially explicit vegetation data through successive LiDAR flights provides the capability to project 3-D (x,y,z) forest models into the 4-D (x,y,z, + time), allowing for a greater understanding of ecosystem processes and responses.

Please return to this page often to follow progress of the Restoration efforts.

For more information about Griffith Woods contact:

Andrew Berry
Bernheim Forest
(859) 619-5830