Harvard Forest LTER - Project Overview

Location
North-central Massachusetts
42.5°N Latitude; 72°W Longitude
Land Base
Petersham, MA: 1200 ha across 3 major tracts
Prospect Hill
Tom Swamp
Slab City
Plus 2 smaller tracts (Schwarz Tract and Simes Tract)

Royalston, MA: 28 ha Tall Timbers Tract
Hamilton, MA: 40 ha Matthews Plantation
Winchester, NH: 10 ha Pisgah Tract, which is part of the 5000 ha Pisgah State Forest

Climate
Cool, moist temperate
July mean temperature 20°C
January mean temperature -7°C
Annual mean precipitation 110 cm, distributed fairly evenly throughout the year

Physiography
New England Upland Region
Elevation: 220m to 410m above sea level
Bedrock: granite, gneiss and schist

Soils
Mainly sandy loam glacial till, with some alluvial and colluvial deposits
Moderately to well drained in most areas
Acidic
Average depth 3 m

Vegetation
Transition Hardwood - White Pine - Hemlock Region
Dominant species:
Red oak (Quercus rubra)
Red maple (Acer rubrum)
Black birch (Betula lenta)
White pine (Pinus strobus)
Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Species found on drier soils:
White oak (Quercus alba)
Black oak (Quercus velutina)
Hickory (Carya ovata)
Chestnut (Castanea dentata), now only found in understory because of chestnut blight
On moist, cool, but well-drained sites:
Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
Paper birch (Betula papyrifera)
White ash (Fraxinus americana)
Hemlock
White pine

In peatlands:
Red spruce (Picea rubens)
Black spruce (Picea mariana)
Larch (Larix laricina)

Plantations:
Conifer plantations cover about 7% of Harvard Forest land

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