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First Phase of Mega-Plot Mapping Completed (30,000 stems!)

November 1, 2010
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Tree measuring at mega-plot

This summer, ecologist Dave Orwig and a crew of 6 technicians established a new, 35-hectare (about 85 acres) research "mega-plot" on Harvard Forest's Prospect Hill. Over the course of 13 weeks, they measured, tagged, and mapped every woody plant stem greater than 1 cm diameter. In the end, a whopping 29,908 stems were analyzed. Work will resume next summer to complete the initial census and mapping of the remainder of the plot. The Harvard Forest mega-plot is one part of a global array of plots being established by the Center for Tropical Forest Science, which aims to explore ecosystem processes in both tropical and temperate forests. CTFS selected this area of Harvard Forest partly because its eastern hemlock and northern hardwood species will provide an excellent point of comparison with several other hardwood plots in North America and China at similar latitudes. This fall, Dave Orwig will continue to screen and edit the summer's plot data for upload to the global CTFS database. 

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