About the Lab

Big Bog at Warren Grove

The Laboratory of Pinelands Research (LPLR) was created in March 2002 as a result of a cooperative agreement between the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at Drexel University and the New Jersey Air National Guard (NJANG). The main purpose of the LPLR is to foster stewardship of the natural resources at the Warren Grove Gunnery Range in support of the NJANG Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan. The LPLR works closely with the NJANG to provide valuable information for managing natural resources that comply with federal and state regulations and to evaluate mission effects on the regional Pine Barrens ecosystem. The director of the Laboratoy of Pinelands Research is Dr. Walter F. Bien.

The Pinelands National Reserve in Central and Southern New Jersey contains one of the largest continuous areas of pine barren ecosystems in the world. Pine Barren habitats are characterized by well drained, sandy, nutrient-poor soils, with a high frequency of fire that results in a unique plant community of fire adapted species. A gentle rolling topography influences a mosaic pattern of upland and lowland habitats with high ecological value. The area also supports the largest area of pygmy pine plain forests making it a very special and rare ecosystem. The Pine Plains are characterized by the presence of a diminutive form of the Pitch Pine, Pinus rigida, which possess serotinous cones and reach heights no greater than 3 meters.

The Warren Grove Gunnery Range (WGGR) operated by New Jersey's Air National Guard, is a military training site occupying 2000 hectares of the 450,000 hectares within the East Plains of the Pinelands National Reserve. The military range occupies a patchwork of pine barren habitats that include pine-oak forests, cedar bogs, savannas and a significant area of Pine Plains. The Sikes Act of 1960 mandates that environmentally and ecological sensitive federal lands are properly managed to preserve the integrity of the land and the protection of rare and endangered species. In order to preserve and enhance the ecological integrity of the Pine Barrens, identifying rare flora and fauna, restoring disturbed habitats, and assessing efficacy of current environmental management are some of the primary goals of the WGGR Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP). Drexel University, in collaboration with the New Jersey Air National Guard will address these goals and provide valuable information to natural resource managers. The studies being conducted at WGGR are important for the understanding and preservation of an important and unique ecosystem.