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November 18, 2020

Upcoming Webinar: Saying Yes to Wildlands and Woodlands

View from Lions Head in Connecticut, part of the Appalachian Trail, showing a mosaic of hills, forests, and farms in autumn. Photo by John Burk.

How can New England best protect its forests as the region sits at the precipice of climate change, biodiversity loss, forest fragmentation, and development pressure?

The answer to this question often falls in one of two camps: either conserve forests as working lands that provide timber and other forest products, or protect them as wildlands without timber harvesting.

Tune in to a

October 30, 2020

Study: China’s Most Important Trees Are Hiding in Plain Sight

Long-term forest study plot in China. Photo by Xiujuan Qiao.

In ecosystems around the globe, the danger of being a common or widespread species is the tendency to be overlooked by conservation efforts that prioritize rarity. In forests, the most common species can be essential to ecosystem structure and function, which crumble with the decline of these pivotal trees, known collectively as foundation species.

In an effort to identify forest foundation

September 3, 2020

New Grant: Redefining the Ecological Memory of Forest Disturbance

Dr. Zhen-ju Chen, Dr. David Orwig, and student Mel Paduani core a large northern red oak tree in an old-growth forest

A new, 4-year grant from the National Science Foundation to HF Senior Ecologists Neil Pederson and Dave Orwig will support an unprecedented inquiry into 600 years of tree growth data from 35 old-growth forest study sites in the Northeast. The research will test the sensitivity of Northeast forest ecosystems to extreme climate events such as drought or late-spring frosts.

Preliminary evidence

August 27, 2020

New Interim Harvard Forest Director Took Reins July 1; Retiring Director Leaves 30-Year Legacy

Missy Holbrook shows students a white pine tree in the forest in winter

Noel Michele Holbrook, an accomplished plant physiologist and the Charles Bullard Professor of Forestry at Harvard University, became the eighth director of the Harvard Forest on July 1, 2020. The role is an interim position, with a future search for a permanent director pending.

Retiring director David R. Foster has assumed a new position of Senior Conservationist at

August 27, 2020

2020-2021 Bullard Fellows Announced

A scientist sits on the forest floor, writing data on a clipboard

We are pleased to announce the Harvard Forest Charles Bullard Fellows for 2020-2021. The mission of the Bullard Fellowship Program is to support advanced research and study by individuals who show promise of making an important contribution--either as scholars or administrators--to forestry and forest-related subjects, from biology to earth sciences, economics, politics, law, and the arts and humanities. 

August 4, 2020

Study: In a Warming World, New England’s Trees Are Storing More Carbon

Senior ecologist Audrey Barker Plotkin works with student researchers Collette Yee and Kate Eisen to measure trees in a long-term Harvard Forest study plot. Photo by Moshe Roberts.

A new study in Ecological Monographs synthesizes hundreds of thousands of carbon observations collected over the last quarter century at the Harvard Forest, following the complex stream of carbon through the forest's air, soil, plants, and water. The scope of the study - as well as its consistency of results - is unprecedented. 

The study reveals that the rate at

August 1, 2020

New Grant Supports Public Tweeting Tree Network

screenshot of the Witness Tree webcam showing the tree's canopy in spring, along with logos from Facebook and Twitter

A 2-year grant from the Harvard Climate Change Solutions Fund will support a new research, community outreach, and education initiative for the Harvard Forest Witness Tree social media project. Project leaders Tim Rademacher and Clarisse Hart will oversee the deployment and evaluation of three new tweeting trees at environmental education sites in greater Boston, including the Arnold

July 31, 2020

Harvard Forest Makes Strong Showing at ESA

Harvard Forest scientists and REU alumnae, and Harvard Forest’s site-based research are very well-represented at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (August 3-6). This year’s meeting is entirely virtual, with all oral talks and posters available on-demand throughout the week. This schedule gives titles and links to all the talks and posters; abstracts

July 29, 2020

Alternative Scenarios for the New England Landscape

Scenario planning is a rigorous way of asking “what if?” and it can be a powerful tool for natural resource professionals preparing for the future of socioecological systems. Planners often engage with stakeholders to codesign alternative scenarios of land-use change to help plan for an uncertain future.  The collaborators working on the New England Landscape Futures (NELF) project published a

July 29, 2020

Ongoing Debate: The Role of Climate Versus Fire in Shaping the Pre-European Landscape

HF researchers Wyatt Oswald and David Foster engaged in a lively exchange in the journal Nature Sustainability concerning their paper with Bryan Shuman, Elizabeth Chilton, Dianna Doucette, and Deena Duranleau, Conservation implications of limited Native American impacts in pre-contact New England.  The original article documented that climate rather than people was the predominant force shaping the forested southern New England landscape until

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