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Harvard Forest Research Project 2022

  • Title: Effects of Forest Fragmentation on Carbon Sequestration
  • Principal investigator: Lucy Hutyra (
  • Institution: Boston University
  • Primary contact: Ian Smith (
  • Team members: Lucy Hutyra; Andrew Reinmann; Pamela Templer; Jonathan Thompson
  • Abstract:

    Forest loss/fragmentation can have profound impacts on the terrestrial carbon (C) cycle by reducing forest uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2; the primary driver of anthropogenic climate change) through photosynthesis and C storage in forest biomass. Relative to intact rural forests, trees growing in forest fragments within developed landscapes typically experience conditions that can enhance growth such as warmer and longer growing seasons (i.e. urban heat island effect) and greater light and nutrient availability (e.g., nitrogen deposition) as well as conditions that can hinder growth such as increased exposure to damaging pollutants such as ozone and higher rates of disturbance. Furthermore, forest soils near edges may release more carbon to the atmosphere due to increases in temperature driving higher rates of soil respiration. Our research aims to quantify the impact of fragmentation on C uptake and respiration near forest edges.