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Large Experiments and Permanent Plot Studies
Large experiments allow us to evaluate infrequent but important disturbances as well as to anticipate forest response to predicted stressors. The long-term experiments begun with Harvard Forest's LTER program have passed their 25th anniversaries, and represent an invaluable scientific legacy as they continually provide fundamental and novel insights into unfolding ecological processes, attract new researchers, and yield critical results for the development of sound management and policy. New long-term experiments focus on emerging stressors or build on lessons from earlier experiments.
Permanent plots are a key component of a long-term ecological research program. They provide direct insights into forest development. Results from permanent forest plots are crucial to the development and validation of forest process models. Predictions about how forests change over time and respond to climate change, invasions of exotic organisms, wind and fire disturbance, and forest management all need to be grounded in long-term observation. Permanent plots complement large experiments by providing useful comparisons in addition to the experimental controls.
Examples of large experiments and permanent plot studies at Harvard Forest include:
- Hurricane Manipulation
- DIRT - Detritus Input and Removal Treatments
- Forest-Atmosphere Exchange of Carbon
- Hemlock Removal by Logging or Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
- Soil Warming
- Chronic Nitrogen Saturation
- Climate Change: Warm Ants - Hot Plants
- Garlic Mustard Effects on Forest Plant Assemblages
- The Role of Deer and Moose Browsing in Southern New England Forests
- ForestGEO forest dynamics plot (35 hectares, 116,000 stems)
- The Lyford Grid
Related Data & Publications
Publications - Published papers from Harvard Forest related to large experiments and permanent plot studies.
Datasets - Data and metadata for large experiments and permanent plot studies.
Abstracts from Ecological Research Symposium - These abstracts describe the latest results and conclusions from on-going research at Harvard Forest