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December 11, 2013

New Study Reveals Promise and Peril of Land-Use Decisions

CT River Valley

A groundbreaking study released today by the Harvard Forest and the Smithsonian Institution reveals that, if left unchecked, recent trends in the loss of forests to development will undermine significant land conservation gains in Massachusetts, jeopardize water quality, and limit the natural landscape's ability to protect against climate change. 

The good news is that the research shows alternatives exist for

December 9, 2013

Undergraduate Summer Research Program

Note: applications closed Feb. 7, 2014.  Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Harvard Forest Summer Research Program, an opportunity for college and university students across the U.S. to participate in 11 weeks (May 26-August 8, 2014) of paid, independent research with mentors from Harvard and other leading institutions. 2014 research projects focus on the ecological dimensions

December 9, 2013

Forest Soil Respiration: A 22-Year Analysis

summer students soil respiration

Through respiration and photosynthesis, terrestrial soils and plants control 1/6 of all carbon present in the atmosphere. Results from more than 100,000 individual measurements of forest soil respiration, conducted at the Harvard Forest by scientists from 8 institutions over 22 years, casts new light on how carbon cycles through these complex plant and soil systems. The research team

November 27, 2013

Arts & Science Merge in Harvard Forest Winter Break Week

HWA studies at Winter Break

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Harvard Forest Winter Break Week (Jan. 19-24), an immersive, interdisciplinary opportunity for Harvard students to explore the Harvard Forest landscape. Daily hands-on workshops and field trips led by scientists, artists, and writers will offer students a variety of perspectives on real-world ecological and conservation topics. This program is made possible at

November 27, 2013

Paper Highlights Resilience and Recovery of Large, Old Trees

large pine at Ice Glen

A brief synthesis of large, old tree dynamics, recently published by the journal Conservation Letters, shows that despite concerns of widespread declines of large trees, forest research from the USA, Sweden, European Union, and the tropics reveal that large trees have actually increased in many of the world’s forests in recent decades. The author of the article, Harvard

October 29, 2013

Teacher Innovation in the HF Schoolyard Ecology Program

LeTellier students at AMC

Lise LeTellier, a teacher in the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Ecology program, details in a new feature article how hands-on science lessons connect her urban high school students to field ecology via collaborations with the Harvard Forest, Project Learning Tree, and the Appalachian Mountain Club.

LeTellier won a state award this year for excellence

October 21, 2013

Tracking Success in Regional Conservation Partnerships

RCP map

What makes land conservation succeed in New England?

A new study by Harvard Forest collaborators Bill Labich (from Highstead) and Sydne Record, recently published in the Journal of Forestry, evaluates how regional conservation partnerships (RCPs) protect land from development, and points to the critical role the lead partner organization plays in how quickly conservation can

October 21, 2013

Harvard Forest Welcomes New Senior Ecologist

Jonathan Thompson at Harvard Forest

Jonathan Thompson has joined the Harvard Forest staff as a new Senior Ecologist. He comes to us from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, where he was a Research Scientist and Landscape Ecologist. Before joining the Smithsonian in 2009, Thompson spent two years as a Bullard Fellow and Research Associate here at Harvard Forest. He holds an undergraduate degree

October 18, 2013

Carbon and Water Dynamics in a Deciduous Clearcut

Chris Williams and eddy flux tower

A new Harvard Forest study released today in Global Change Biology provides the first detailed account of how carbon, water, and energy balances shift in the years following a clearcut of a broadleaf temperate forest.

Results show a steady loss of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from the clearcut area, primarily from exposed soils and decaying wood. The cleared area

September 24, 2013

New Study: Carbon Age in Sprouting Trees

sprouting red maple stump

A comparative study of red maple trees at the Harvard Forest and at Bartlett Experimental Forest in New Hampshire sheds new light on how trees allocate carbon throughout their life cycle--including just after they have been cut. The researchers used radiocarbon dating to "age" the carbon in new sprouts that emerge from stumps when trees are harvested.

The two sites showed

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