ULM professor to study wildlife refuge

A University of Louisiana-Monroe professor and graduate students plan to launch a wildlife research project in the Ouachita Wildlife Management Area about 12 miles southeast of Monroe.

Associate biology professor Joydeep Bhattacharjee has been awarded a $34,000 grant by the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Bhattacharjee said the research will focus on wildlife habitat in the restored bottomland hardwood forest.

Part of the project will focus on evaluating three tree-thinning formulations, designed to improve the habitat by encouraging different layers of vegetation. Such vegetation is vital to a healthy habitat for game and non-game species, Bhattacharjee said.

“Through our research, we intend to develop management guidelines to functionally restore these bottomland hardwoods, which are home to 34 species of concern, including 17 species of birds, five species of mammals, five species of amphibians, four species of reptiles, and three species of butterflies,” he said.

“Overall, this research will result in a comprehensive habitat assessment of the Ouachita Wildlife Management Area,” Bhattacharjee said.