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Harvard Forest Research Project 2022

  • Title: Root production at the Harvard Forest
  • Principal investigator: Marc-Andre Giasson (
  • Institution: Boston University
  • Primary contact: Audrey Barker Plotkin (
  • Team members: Adrien Finzi; Marc-Andre Giasson
  • Abstract:

    A central goal of the recent Harvard Forest C Synthesis activity was to identify high-priority needs for C-cycle research at the forest. While there were a number of areas needing follow-up research, belowground C pools and fluxes remain the single largest gap in the C budget and therefore our understanding of the C cycle of the forest. To this end, we proposed the development of the Harvard Forest Belowground Carbon Observation Network (BeCON). As part of BeCON, we propose to do field research that would allow for a better estimate of root production in various stands of the Harvard Forest.

    We will be capturing images of roots using a high-resolution minirhizotron camera inserted into plexiglass tubes installed into the ground. We will also deploy root ingrowth cores; PVC frames covered with fiberglass mesh that allow roots to grow through the soil core. The cores will be co-located with the permanent plots part of BeCON in the hemlock plots (Hemlock Tower footprint and Bigelow weir areas) and the EMS biometric plots. There is a small possibility we would also install root ingrowth cores in the ash stand along route 32 if manpower is sufficient.