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Second Global Earth Observatory Census Reaches Milestone

April 6, 2020
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Map of the most abundant tree species in the ForestGEO plot, shown in patches of blue, red, and green

The primary work of the second census of the Harvard Forest Global Earth Observatory is complete, with 6,992 new woody stems mapped, tagged, and measured - adding to more than 116,000 stems mapped in the initial census. 

The area is re-censused every 5 years by a dedicated crew of researchers led by Forest Ecologist Dave Orwig. The census tracks not only recruitment of new trees but also tree mortality. The new data reveal that 17,647 woody stems have died since the 2014 census, including more than 3,800 eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and 97% of all the withe-rod (Viburnum nudum) in the study area. However, the total basal area of the plot still increased by about 12 percent over the 5-year period.

Pending funding, the remaining woody stems in the study area (all in the central beaver swamp) will be censused in winter 2021.

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