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Study: Snowfall Linked to Tree Growth and Function

February 8, 2016
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Pamela Templer studying impacts to trees from snow

Snowfall affects forest tree growth and function well beyond the winter season, says a new study of a dozen Harvard Forest red oak and red maple trees, recently published in the journal Ecosystems.

The study authors, Andrew Reinmann and Pamela Templer, both from Boston University, found impacts above- and below-ground when they removed snow from the ground in the study area, allowing the top layer of the soil to freeze.

As a result of the freeze, there were fewer living tree roots the following spring. Surprisingly, red maples affected by the freeze grew more in diameter, but also released far more carbon dioxide from their trunks and branches.

(Photo by Melody Komyerov courtesy of Boston University)

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