Harvard Forest (HARV)

The genus Betula at HARV-S. Symbols are proportional to stem diameter.

Sampling at Harvard Forest includes long term plots established by our lab in 2012 and new efforts located at NEON plots.  The long-term plots, HARV-BW and HARV-S, are 1-ha in area, both supporting a canopy of conifers and northern hardwoods.  Maps here show distributions of trees in the genus Betula and seed collections in a mast and a non-mast year.

Non-mast and mast years for Betula at HARV-S.

The HARV NEON site is located on the Quabbin Reservoir, one of the primary water supplies for Boston. This area is strictly managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. This large, protected watershed harbors northern hardwood forests and diverse wildlife.

With help from domain manager, Kristin Godfrey, and Senior Ecologist, Greta VanScoy, we established sampling at nine NEON plots.

Plot 5 is located in a dense bottom-land forest. Dominant tree species include, Acer rubrum, Quercus alba, and Quercus rubra. The midstory is dominated by  Hammalis virginiana. Oaks in this plot have extensive foliar from gypsy moth, with many trees being completely defoliated. Pinus strobus was a dominant species in the past, but shows substantial understory mortality. Ground cover consists of ferns and Vaccinium.

Plot 2 is on a rocky slope, with large boulders throughout. The stand is dominated by Acer rubrum, Betula lenta, Quercus alba, and Quercus rubra. The understory has dense Pinus strobus recruitment. Hamammelis virginianais abundant.

Plot 21 supports a dense Pinus strobus understory. The upper canopy consists of old growth Pinus strobus, Betula lenta and Acer rubrum. The eastern side of the plot has been thinned by recent beaver activity.

Beavers at plot 21

Plot 8 is a dense hardwood stand, dominated by Quercus rubra, Acer rubrum, and Betula lenta. The understory is dense and dominated by Betula lenta.

Plot 4 has a relatively open canopy, with scattered Pinus strobus, Fraxinus americana, Quercus rubra and Acer rubrum. The understory is dominated by Pinus strobus recruits, Hamammelis virginiana, and ferns. This plot has extensive damage from the emerald ash borer and gypsy moth, the former killing many of the Fraxinus americana trees, and the latter defoliating Quercus rubra.

Plot 1 has dense Betula lenta and Pinus strobus recruitment. The canopy consists of mature Pinus strobus, Quercus rubra, Quercus alba, Acer rubrum, Betula lenta, and Carya glabra.

Plot 10 occupies a rocky slope with a dense understory of Gaylussacia and ferns. Mature trees include Pinus strobus, Quercus rubra, Quercus alba, and Acer rubrum. The mid story consists of Pinus strobus and Betula lenta, which appear suppressed.

Plot 6 is an open stand that was once dominated by Quercus rubra and Quercus alba. Due to gypsy moth defoliation, the sparse herbaceous layer is exposed to high light levels.   Other species include Acer rubrum and Picea rubens.

Plot 13 was not sampled, because the road to this stand was submerged.

Plot 22 occupies a bottom land, approximately about 100 m east of a swamp. It is dominated by Pinus strobus, with few Betula lenta and Acer rubrum trees. Most of the Pinus strobus trees smaller then 10 cm have died due to competition. The understory is open, except in the Southwest corner (dominated by Betula lenta recruits).

Thinning of suppressed P. strobus at plot 22

HARV Plot 1
HARV Plot 2
HARV Plot 4
HARV Plot 5
HARV Plot 6
HARV Plot 8
HARV Plot 10
HARV Plot 13
HARV Plot 21
HARV Plot 22

Field Researchers

Don't miss these other field sites:

Soaproot Saddle (SOAP)

Soaproot Saddle is part of the Sierra National Forest and managed by the Forest Service. Jessica Bolis, NEON domain manager, facilitated access to the plots.

Wind River Experimental Forest (WREF)

The Wind River Experimental Forest, north of the Columbia River River Gorge and part of Gifford Pinchot National Forest, has been studied by the USFS since 1908.

Yellowstone (YELL)

Parent materials combine a history of volcanism, faulting, and glaciation. The park remains seismically active, with frequent earthquakes and many hydrothermal features. Vegetation includes a mosaic of forest, sagebrush-steppe and riparian bottomlands.

Treehaven (TREE)

The 560-ha Treehaven Forest lies within the northern Great Lakes region south of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Operated by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, this site focuses on natural resource education.

Bartlett Forest (BART)

Bartlett Experimental Forest (BART), located in the White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire, is managed as the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station.

Mountain Lake Biological Station (MLBS)

Mountain Lake Biological Station is located in the Southern Appalachians of Southwest Virginia. This field site is administered through the University of Virginia. The NEON plots extend from mixed decidious forests to pine plantations.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center is located south of Annapolis, MA. Formally farmland, this coastal plain forest sits on the western shore of the Chesapeake bay. The 1070-ha site is operated by the Smithsonian Institute.

Talladega National Forest (TALL)

The Talladega NEON site is located within the Oakmulgee Ranger District of the Talladega National Forest. This rolling terrain is part of the Fall Line Hills of the Eastern Gulf Coastal Plain. In the 1800’s this area was heavily logged, but since the 1980’s the Forest Service has worked on restoring this area back to the Longleaf Savannah ecosystem.

Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (OSBS)

The University of Florida hosts the NEON OSBS site at their Ordway-Swisher Biological Station in north-central Florida. Andrew Rappe, the Assistant Director, gave us an orientation to the site.

Disney Wilderness Preserve (DSNY)

Formerly ranchland, the Disney Wilderness Preserve has been restored to Pine savanna under ownership of The Nature Conservancy. Previously, most of the preserve consisted of flatwoods open to cattle and excluded from fire.

Niwot Ridge (NIWO)

Niwot Ridge is an LTER site administered through University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)at their Mountain Research Station. NEON sites extend from P. contorta and subalpine spruce-fir to above treeline.

Our Partners

PBGJAM is a collaborative project with financial and logistical support from the following partners