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New Harvard Forest Publication: Natural History from Rarely Studied Hardwood Trees

September 1, 2007
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Tree-ring research has made significant contributions to the understanding of environmental change and forest stand dynamics. Its application to understanding natural history, however, has been limited. Recent tree-ring data from several rarely studied hardwood species collected by Niel Pederson, Tony D'Amato, and David Orwig have yielded ages well beyond maximum expectations. For example, a sampling of 20 cucumbertrees (Magnolia acuminata) included two individuals 315 and 348 years, respectively, which are nearly two centuries more than the average life expectancy reported for this species. Also, research in recently discovered old-growth stands in western Massachusetts have illustrated the common occurrence of black birch (B. lenta) in eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) dominated old-growth forests with individuals often living beyond 320 years in these systems. These studies have illustrated the importance of utilizing tree-ring research to expand our knowledge of previously overlooked central hardwood species.

Pederson, N., A. W. D'Amato, and D. A. Orwig. 2007. Natural History from Dendrochronology: Maximum Ages and Canopy Persistence of Rarely Studied Hardwood Species. In: Proceedings of the 15th Central Hardwood Forest Conference. Knoxville, TN.

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