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Harvard Forest Research Project 2022

  • Title: Biodiversity of plantations and early successional habitat
  • Principal investigator: Audrey Barker Plotkin (
  • Institution: Harvard Forest
  • Primary contact: Audrey Barker Plotkin (
  • Team members: Greta VanScoy
  • Abstract:

    In 2008-2010, the Harvard Forest harvested 77 acres of mature plantation forests and is conducting intensive long-term studies of the biodiversity changes and vegetation dynamics in the resulting early successional habitat. The plantations of primarily non-native conifers (red pine, white and Norway spruce) were established in old fields during the early years of the Harvard Forest as long-term experiments on forest growth, productivity, and suitability of species to New England conditions. The stands were 60-90 years in age , and were harvested in order to regenerate a diversity of native trees species and to eventually restore mature native forests to these sites through natural succession. The resulting early-successional habitat is a regionally uncommon landscape type throughout southern New England, and treatments should provide 10-15 years of early seral habitat for many plant and animal species. Approximately 50 acres of other plantations will remain unharvested as controls and to protect existing study sites. The harvesting began in Winter 2007-2008 and was completed in 2010. In 2007, we established 22 permanent plots throughout the harvest and control plantations.