The Harvard Forest is located in a rural setting in north-central Massachusetts about 70 miles west of Boston. The 1200-hectare site lies in the Transition Hardwood-White Pine-Hemlock forest region, and includes a variety of forests and wetlands. Research at the Forest focuses on effects of natural and human disturbances on forest ecosystems. These disturbances include atmospheric pollution, global warming, hurricanes, treefalls, and insect outbreaks. Facilities include laboratories for nutrient analysis, physiological and population ecology, isozyme and pollen analysis; greenhouses; herbarium; computer laboratory; library; and a museum.
Since 1907 research and education have been the mission of the Harvard Forest, one of the oldest and most intensively studied forests in North America. From a center comprised of 3000 acres of land, research facilities, and the Fisher Museum the scientists, students, and collaborators at the Forest explore topics ranging from conservation and environmental change to land-use history and the ways in which physical, biological and human systems interact to change our earth.
Short research topics:
Long-term climate change, disturbance history and vegetation dynamics; comparison of community, population, and plant architectural responses to human and natural disturbance; forest-atmosphere trace gas fluxes; organic matter accumulation, decomposition and mineralization; element cycling, fine root dynamics and forest microbiology.