July 2, 2014

Harvard ForestGEO plot initial census completed!

Harvard Forest researchers, with the assistance of scientists from the Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS) and the Smithsonian Institute’s Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO), completed the census of woody stems within the 35 ha plot located on Prospect Hill in March 2014. Using standardized CTFS-ForestGEO methodology, Jay Aylward and field assistants Kyle Krigest and Sarah Myers have measured, tagged, painted, and mapped the final 4,400+ woody stems greater than 1 cm dbh in the remaining section of forest located in the beaver swamp in the north-central portion of the plot.
The swamp is particularly dense, containing over 29,000 stems of winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), witherod (Viburnum cassinoides), and maleberry (Lyonia ligustrina).  The final plot tally from Dave Orwig, Jay, and 26 field assistants was over 116,000 woody stems!  The HF SIGEO plot is dominated by eastern hemlock (> 25,000 stems) and northern hardwood species in upland plots, and will make an excellent comparison with several other hardwood plots in North America and China at similar latitudes. 

This plot is part of a global array of large-scale plots established by CTFS, which recently expanded sampling efforts into temperate forests to explore ecosystem processes beyond population dynamics and biodiversity. 

The geography and size of the Harvard Forest plot (500 m x 700 m) was designed to include a continuous, expansive and varied natural forest landscape that will yield opportunities for the study of forest dynamics and demography while capturing a large amount of existing science infrastructure (e.g. eddy flux towers, gauged sections of a small watershed, existing smaller permanent plots) that will enable the integrated study of ecosystem processes (e.g., biogeochemistry, hydrology, carbon dynamics) and forest dynamics . Thus, the resulting data will integrate well with ongoing NSF-funded LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) and NEON (National Ecological Observation Network) studies.

To learn more about CTFS-ForestGEO, click here.