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Harvard Forest Research Project 2022

  • Title: Plant invasion dynamics at Harvard Farm
  • Principal investigator: Martha Hoopes (mhoopes@mtholyoke.edu)
  • Institution: Mount Holyoke College
  • Primary contact: Martha Hoopes (mhoopes@mtholyoke.edu)
  • Team members: Jerilyn Jean Calaor; Seanne Clemente; Glenn Motzkin; Shreena Pyakurel; Alina Smithe
  • Abstract:

    Open grassland areas in New England have decreased dramatically since the agricultural peak in the 19th century and offer important habitats for several rare or endangered species in the region. Management to maintain these habitats often requires removal of woody species and biomass to avoid succession toward dominance by woody temperate forest species. At Harvard Farm, three biomass removal methods (low intensity rotational grazing, constant grazing, and mowing/haying) lead to different disturbance and plant dispersal regimes. This project follows 27 permanent plots (10m x 10m) to track plant community transition under these treatments. In addition, we explore the changes in density and community impacts of several non-native and invasive grassland species (e.g., Cirsium spp., Rumex spp., Trifolium spp., Hypericum spp.) and woody forest or edge species (e.g., Berberis spp., Celastrus spp., Lonicera spp.). Where we possible we pair these comparisons with examinations of native congeners.