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Harvard Forest Research Project 2022

  • Title: Trends in soil carbon stocks at the Harvard Forest EMS tower
  • Principal investigator: Adrien Finzi (
  • Institution: Boston University
  • Primary contact: Audrey Barker Plotkin (
  • Team members: Marc-Andre Giasson
  • Abstract:

    The main objective of this research is to study changes in soil carbon stocks (soil C, root biomass) in the EMS tower footprint. These new plots are co-located with the biometric plots and are intended to be part of Harvard Forest’s Belowground Carbon Observation Network (BeCON). They complement the aboveground biomass, woody debris, litterfall, and other measurements measured at these plots over the last 27 years.

    Over the course of two to three summers, plots will be established to quantify soil carbon and fine root biomass. They will be established near, but outside, the biometric plots. In each plot, samples will be collected in 6 subplots. We will collect a 10 cm × 10 cm organic horizon sample and sample the underlying mineral soil to a depth of 30 cm in 10 cm increments.

    Samples will be processed at Boston University to determine live and dead root biomass, and root and soil C and N content. Because of the processing time required for each sample and the limited manpower available, the samples will be collected over a few years. Additional sets of samples will be collected in each plot every 5–10 years to study the temporal changes in these C pools.