July 20, 2010

Harvard Forest Plot Underway

by David A. Orwig

Harvard Forest researchers, with the assistance of scientists from CTFS-SIGEO, began the census of woody stems on June 1, 2010. The 35-ha plot is dominated by eastern hemlock and northern hardwood species and will make an excellent comparison with several other hardwood plots in North America and China at similar latitudes.

To date, over 13,000 stems have been tagged, mapped, and measured, representing approximately 4.5 hectares. Some of the quadrats were particularly dense, containing dense thickets of mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia). Over the course of the summer, Forest Ecologist David Orwig and six crew members will continue sampling in the western portion of the plot.

The Harvard Forest plot forms part of a global array of large-scale plots established by CTFS-SIGEO, which recently expanded sampling efforts into temperate forests to explore ecosystem processes beyond population dynamics and biodiversity. The geography and size of the plot (500 m x 700 m) was designed to include a continuous, expansive, and varied natural forest landscape that will yield opportunities for the study of forest dynamics and demography while capturing a large amount of existing science infrastructure (e.g., eddy flux towers, gauged sections of a small watershed, existing smaller permanent plots) that will enable the integrated study of ecosystem processes (e.g., biogeochemistry, hydrology, carbon dynamics) and forest dynamics. Thus the resulting data will integrate well with ongoing NSF-funded LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) and NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) studies.

July 13, 2010

First census of Yosemite 25-ha plot completed

On Friday July 9, 2010, CTFS-SIGEO partners finished the first census of the 25-ha plot located in Yosemite National Park. Seven temperate plots, at varying stages of enumeration, are now in place in North America.

Field work started last year during the last two weeks of June, when more than 13,000 individual trees in approximately 10 ha were censused. The census of the second half of the plot required about the same number of fieldwork hours as the first.

The Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot is located near Crane Flat in Yosemite National Park, with white fir (Abies concolor), sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana), and Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) making up most of the species. The principal investigators are Drs. James Lutz and Andrew Larson.

PHOTOS: By Jim Lutz