Manchin announces $249k to WVU research projects

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Joe Manchin announced $249,963 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for an environmental science research project through West Virginia University Research Corporation. 

The environmental science research project at the university studies climate change. The program uses cameras from the National Ecological Observation Network (NEON) towers and measurements from lasers (LiDAR) to study trees. 

“We’re interested to understand how shape of trees effect how forest interact with the climate,” Brenden McNeil, West Virginia University Associate Professor of Geography, said. “So, how forest can help slow down climate change by taking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and how our change to climate effects the forest in term of which tree species are adapted to a wetter, warmer world that we’re expecting here in West Virginia.” 

Experts said that currently forests slow down climate change by 25%. 

The project is worked on by undergrads as well as hundreds of sixth graders. Their goal is to help inform people about forest management for the future.  

“This is work that WVU has funded for a while,” McNeil said. “I’ve received lots for seed money from West Virginia University and from the NASA West Virginia space grant program and it’s so great to finally scale up that work, that seed money, into a full-fledged project and to use this really big public investment of the national ecological observation network.” 

The funding will help researcher study forest across the country.  

“West Virginia University continues to lead the country in various research fields, including environmental science. This investment from the National Science Foundation will support important research studying the impact of climate change on trees, while also engaging and teaching West Virginia students,” said Senator Manchin. “The National Science Foundation is a great partner to West Virginia and I look forward to seeing the results of this research project, which will help maximize forest growth and keep West Virginia wild and wonderful for future generations. I will continue to push for funding that helps research projects in the Mountain State succeed.” 

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