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Harvard Forest Research Project 2022

  • Title: Sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in regenerating New England forests: quantifying pools and constraining fluxes
  • Principal investigator: Allison Dunn (adunn@worcester.edu)
  • Institution: Worcester State University
  • Primary contact: Allison Dunn (adunn@worcester.edu)
  • Team members: Allison Dunn
  • Abstract:

    This work is a field-based study to measure sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in a regenerating New England forest. This consists of long-term biometric plots for measuring changes in carbon storage through time in three forest stands: an early-20th-century red pine plantation, a naturally regenerating former conifer plantation harvested in the 1990s, and a conifer plantation harvested in 2008. Questions being investigated in these stands include their initial carbon budget, carbon fluxes into and out of these stands, and coarse woody debris dynamics. From 2008 to 2020, aboveground woody biomass (AGWB) in the red pine plantation declined from 137.2 to 101.8 Mg C ha-1. In the naturally regenerating stand, AGWB increased from 35.2 to 59.4 Mg C ha-1 from 2008 to 2020. As the dataset grows in length, it allows investigation of larger-scale questions, such as how successional patterns affect carbon sequestration, how carbon dynamics are influenced by dynamics, and how these patterns change with stand age. The work also addresses how forestry practices influence carbon sequestration, and provides guidance for how forest management could enhance terrestrial carbon uptake in the future.