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The National Pinelands


Elizabeth Burnham, Jillena Yeager, Megan Kelly
ENVL 4305: Environmental Issues Lab
14 October 2014

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Established on 1.1 million acres of forested land in Southern New Jersey, the Pinelands National
Reserve became the nation’s first national reserve under the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978
(NJ Pinelands Commission, 2012). This reserve harbors 135 endangered/threatened species and several
plant species found nowhere else in the U.S.. The reserve sits on the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, which
contains an estimated 17 trillion gallons of water (Good et. al., 1984). All of these factors contribute to the
land’s ecological importance and justify the recent establishment of The Pinelands National Laboratory
(PNL). This laboratory, situated on 1,608 acres of land in Galloway Twp., NJ, conducts experimental
research to better understand the Pinelands ecosystem. PNL land is divided among several land use types,
with forests comprising the majority of the study area (Figure 1; Table 1; Graph 1). PNL has zoned out
research sites for studying the Southern Pine Beetle (D.f. zimmermann), Atlantic White Cedar (C.
thyoides) stands, etc. (Figure 2). PNL is conservation-based, which means all research will utilize
resources wisely. This principle, created by Gifford Pinchot in 1898, stated that land should be managed
“for the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run” (US Forest Service, 2013). The goal of this
PNL research is to develop more effective management and conservation practices for the entire
Pinelands National Reserve, which in turn, will benefit the people.
Figure 1: This map shows the land use
composition of the study area around The
Pinelands National Laboratory.

Table 1: This table shows the total acreage
for each land use type. Forests have the
most acreage and agriculture has the least.

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Graph 1: This graph shows breakdown of
land use composition in the study area by
percentages. Forests make up the majority
of the study area with 53%.

Figure 2: This map displays how specific lands
in PNL will be zoned out to accommodate
research projects. It also displays where the
main buildings/facilities are located.

Laboratory Benefits for the Village

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Table 2: This table shows the total acreage
for each land owner and what percent of
the total study area they own. PNL owns
97.3% of the land.
Residents of a 38.8-acre village in the northern section of the study area will be directly affected
by PNL, as well as the three “Piney”-owned inholdings (Figure 3; Table 2). The villagers grow their own
food and hunt in the surrounding forest. They earn a small, livable income from their family-owned
businesses in the village where they sell cultural crafts to visitors. Before establishing PNL, a negotiation
model was implemented to ensure maximum benefit for all
stakeholders; this model mimicked the mediation model (Susskind
et. al., 2003). As well, one of the goals of establishing the
National Pinelands Reserve was to protect the cultural life of its

Figure 3: This graph displays
ownerships of the study area. Most of
the land is federally-owned by PNL, but
there are three private-owned inholdings
and one village within the study area.

people (Hufford, 1986). PNL works to retain the village’s culture
and ensures social, environmental, and economic benefits for the town.
Villagers will be employed by the lab as research assistants and groundskeepers. In 2012,
Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, NY created 3,100 jobs, 98% of which were provided to
people living on the island (Brookhaven National Laboratory [BNL], 2012). Not only will this provide a
source of income for the villagers, but there will be a valuable exchange of knowledge between the
scientists and villagers. The researchers can provide villagers with scientific information about the land.
In return, the villagers possess knowledge of the land that is only acquired from living on the land, such
as the phenology of the area or naturalistic information. The villagers have a moral commitment to the
land and know that sharing information and cooperating with PNL will ultimately benefit the health and
stability of the entire Pinelands National Reserve. Gaining additional knowledge of the land will also
allow villagers to educate visitors frequenting their shops. Spreading awareness about this unique
ecosystem may influence the public to make environmentally-conscious decisions, which may improve
the overall health of the ecosystem. Villagers also have the opportunity to take courses on organic
farming and forest/wildlife management at PNL. University programs that teach adult, indigenous people
about earth science have proven successful, especially when outdoor education is emphasized (Riggs,
2004). Idaho National Laboratory has invested more than $3.1 million in education programs (Black et.
al., 2010). Likewise, PNL will provide local colleges and schools with education grants, which will
increase villagers’ educational opportunities.
The establishment of the PNL also provides an additional customer base for the local village
shops. Scientists living on-site may frequent the shops, as well as visiting scientists. For example,

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Brookhaven National Laboratory has contributed “$31.7 million in goods and services purchased from
Long Island companies” (BNL, 2012). Also, the National Laboratories Partnership Improvement Act of
2001 aims to foster partnerships between the Department of Energy and non-federal entities by creating
government funding for the support of small businesses (Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,

The Village’s Pressure on The Public Parcel
PNL’s Community Advisory Council consists of representatives from local civic, education,
environment, employee, and health organizations; many villagers attend meetings to voice their opinions
(BNL, 2014). The village is currently advocating for community-based participatory research (CBPR)
(Holkup et. al., 2004). This allows the community to be equal partners in all stages of the research
process, which is often appealing to susceptible populations, such as indigenous people. In addition, the
inholding-owners have voiced concern that prescribed burns may damage their homes. This is a valid
concern even though public perception of fire has been skewed since the creation of Smokey the Bear in
the 1940’s (Nelson, 2000). Meanwhile, the villagers are concerned that prescribed burns may adversely
affect air quality and create health hazards. Health risks of prescribed burning are uncertain; one study in
Australia indicated that air quality at burn sites was well below national standards (Bowman et. al., 2005).
Land managers have little guidance aside from national air quality standards; the EPA (1998) produced a
policy for the management of wildfires which simply promotes “thoughtful use of fire by all wildland
owners and managers while mitigating the impacts of emissions on air quality and visibility.” PNL is
currently investigating all of these concerns and locating a more remote prescribed burn site due to
increased community pressure. Finally, there have been instances of established residents harvesting
resources from protected areas (Lee et. al., 2009). In order to prevent this, PNL will coordinate with the
villagers to allow them to continue utilizing specific areas of the land for resources. For example, the
villagers will be provided with produce from the organic garden and cranberries from the bog. PNL has
also set aside forests just north of the village for hunting/recreational use. Although PNL will slightly
alter the community’s lifestyle, research at PNL will benefit the entire Pinelands National Reserve while
keeping local considerations at the forefront of decisions.

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Works Cited

Black, G., Holley, D., & Church, J. (2010). Idaho National Laboratory Impacts: An Analysis of
Idaho National Laboratory Site Operations on Idaho’s Economy. Research by Boise State
Bowman, D. & Fay, J. (2005). Wildlife Smoke, Wildlife Management, and Human Health.
EcoHealth, 2(1): 76-80.
Brookhaven National Laboratory. (2013). Economic Impact Report [Brochure]. Retrieved October 9,
2014 from
Brookhaven National Laboratory. (2014). Community Advisory Council. Retrieved October 10, 2014
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (2001). National Laboratories Partnership
Improvement Act of 2001 (Senate Report 107-30). Washington, DC: U.S. Government
Printing Office. Retrieved from
Environmental Protection Agency. (1998). USEPA Interim Air Quality Policy on Wildland and
Prescribed Fires, Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from
Good, R. & Good, N. (1984). The Pinelands National Reserve: An Ecosystem Approach to
Management. American Institute of Biological Sciences, 34(3): 169-173.
Holkup, P., Tripp-Reimer, T., Salois, E., & Weinert, C. (2004). Community-based Participatory
Research: An Approach to Intervention Research With a Native American Community.
Advances in Nursing Science, 27(3): 162-175.
Hufford, M. (1986). One Space, Many Places: Folklife and Land Use in New Jersey's Pinelands
National Reserve. Report and Recommendations to the New Jersey Pinelands Commission
for Cultural Conservation in the Pinelands National Reserve. American Folklife Center.
Retrieved from

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Lee, T. M., Sodhi, N.S., & Prawiradilaga, C.M. (2009). Determinants of Local People's Attitude
Toward Conservation and The Consequential Effects on Illegal Resource Harvesting in The
Protected Areas of Sulawesi (Indonesia). Environmental Conservation, 36(2): 157-170.
Nelson, R.H. (2000). The Forest Service’s Tinderbox. Regulation, 23 (4): 32-35.
New Jersey Pinelands Commission. (2012). Pinelands Facts [Fact Sheet]. Retrieved from
Riggs, E. (2004). Field-Based Education and Indigenous Knowledge: Essential Components of
Geoscience Education for Native American Communities. Science Education, 89(2): 296313.
Susskind, L., van der Wansem, M., & Ciccareli, A. (2003). Mediating Land Use Disputes in the
United States: Pros and Cons. Environments- A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 31(2):
US Forest Service. (2013). Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946). Grey Towers National Historic Site:
Historic Information. Retrieved October 13, 2014 from: