Research team led by Gardner and Sponarski awarded $1.17 million to protect Maine forest workers from tick-borne diseases

MaineBiz recently reported that a research project led by EES faculty affiliates Allison Gardner, an assistant professor of arthropod vector biology with the School of Biology and Ecology, and Carly Sponarski, an assistant professor of human dimensions of wildlife and fisheries conservation with the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, has been awarded $1.17 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and test land management practices to protect Maine forest workers from exposure to tick-borne diseases.

The project, “Developing adaptive forest management practices to mitigate impacts of climate change on human health,” aims to understand the impacts of timber harvesting on risk exposures to tick-borne diseases, and to develop management practices that could mitigate the spread of tick-borne diseases in our forests. The research team also includes EES faculty affiliates Jessica Leahy, a professor of human dimensions of natural resources with the School of Forest Resources, Anne Lichtenwalner, a professor, veterinarian, and director of the Animal Health Laboratory with the School of Food and Agriculture, and Laura Kenefic, a research forester with the U.S. Forest Service and faculty associate with the School of Forest Resources.