You are here

Harvard Forest >

Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2008

  • Title: Harvard Forest Land Use Master Plan for the Second Century
  • Primary Author: Audrey Barker Plotkin (Harvard Forest)
  • Additional Authors: David Foster (Harvard Forest); John O'Keefe (Harvard Forest)
  • Abstract:

    Harvard Forest has a unique historical opportunity to develop a Land Use Master Plan:

    The current director and staff have had direct connection with previous directors, staff members and supporters., Future land use decisions rest on this historical knowledge.

    We have an extensive archive of site and regional land-use and research history data and have recently developed management, visualization and analysis tools that allow them to inform our planning process.

    We are conducting and developing research at the landscape scale.

    Massachusetts forest cover expanded through the first seven decades of the 20th century, but has begun shrinking again since then. However, wildlife populations are still adjusting to the much greater forest cover and reduced hunting/trapping pressure, and are affecting the landscape in novel ways.

    We are rapidly expanding our field research activities, reviving some timber management activity, and looking toward enhanced LTER and NEON research programs involving significant new infrastructure.

    We are in a period of rapidly expanding and protecting our land base

    All these activities and opportunities require careful coordination and planning so they can be successfully accomplished within both the rapidly changing regional landscape context and the complex site research context.


    The goal of this Master Plan is to allow for flexibility of research and educational uses while protecting current and future research opportunities, and natural and cultural resources.


    Formalize an oral tradition of land use at Harvard Forest by developing broad use zones for the Harvard Forest land base

    Develop guidelines for acceptable research, educational, recreational, and forest management activities and impacts within these areas

    Use these designations to aid in siting new activities at the Harvard Forest

    Identify appropriate buffer areas for protection

    Lay out a broad framework that will be useful to our neighbors and collaborators

    Over the past two years, we have held Harvard Forest Lab Group discussions to develop forest use zones (Table 1; Figure 1). We have also held targeted discussions to develop strategies for managing recreational use of the Forest, invasive species research and management, and forest management. Now we seek input from the larger community of collaborating researchers and neighbors.

  • Research Category: Conservation and Management

  • Figures:
  • U:Master-Plan9LU-Zoneszone-table-may07.pdf