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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2010

  • Title: Forest dynamics on a grand scale: the Harvard Forest Mega-plot
  • Primary Author: David Orwig (Harvard Forest)
  • Additional Authors: David Foster (Harvard University)
  • Abstract:

    We propose to develop a large, 35 ha plot at the Harvard Forest (HF) to sample forest ecosystem dynamics and processes. This plot will be part of the Center for Tropical Forest Science’s (CTFS) global array of large-scale plots. Harvard Forest is one of the most intensively studied forest landscapes in the world with an unrivaled understanding of forest and landscape dynamics, a well established system of long-term measurements of atmosphere-biosphere exchanges, hydrology and biogeochemistry, and an integrated research team in the NSF-funded Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) and National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) programs and DOE-funded Terrestrial Carbon (TCP) program. As CTFS seeks to expand into temperate forests and explore ecosystem processes beyond population dynamics and biodiversity, the proposed HF plot presents an excellent site for both research and the demonstration of integrated studies in large forest plots. In addition, this temperate forest plot, consisting of eastern hemlock and northern hardwood species, will make an excellent comparison with several other hardwood plots in North America and Chin at similar latitudes.

    The additional overlay of information provided by the large plot, as well as the opportunity to undertake comparative studies with other temperate and tropical plots within CTFS, will augment the HF program considerably. With ongoing growth in the plant program at Harvard there exists the opportunity to use this collaborative effort between the Forest, HUH and Arnold Arboretum to develop an integrated platform for research, teaching and training at the undergraduate and graduate levels that surpasses any previous efforts. The potential also exists for expanding further and incorporating thrusts addressing microbial, molecular, and animal studies to create a truly broad center for education.

    The geography and size of the proposed plot (500 m x 700 m rectangular plot;Figure 1) capture a large amount of existing science infrastructure while including a continuous and expansive natural forest landscape that will yield opportunities for the study of forest dynamics and demography that are consistent with the CTFS network of plots world-wide. We propose to use standardized CTFS methods of measuring, mapping, and tagging all individual woody stems ≥ 1 cm dbh. With funding from CTFS, installation of 20 x 20 m plots began in early March, 2010 and the tree census will begin summer of 2010.

  • Research Category: International Research Projects
    Large Experiments and Permanent Plot Studies

  • Figures:
  • Current Research Projects Near Megaplot.jpg