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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Deer and Moose Browsing in Hemlock Removal Experiment at Harvard Forest 2008

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  • Lead: Aaron Ellison, Audrey Barker Plotkin
  • Investigators: David Foster, David Orwig
  • Contact: Information Manager
  • Start date: 2008
  • End date: 2008
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Simes Tract (Harvard Forest)
  • Latitude: +42.47 to +42.48
  • Longitude: -72.22 to -72.21
  • Elevation: 200 to 240 meter
  • Taxa: Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
  • Release date: 2009
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.124.13
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: long-term measurement
  • Research topic: large experiments and permanent plot studies; physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions
  • LTER core area: disturbance
  • Keywords: browsing, deer, hemlock, hemlock woolly adelgid, moose, timber harvest, vegetation dynamics
  • Abstract:

    Hemlock decline in New England is caused by direct and indirect effects of invasion of the hemlock woolly adelgid. Direct damage from the insect is causing gradual mortality of hemlock, and widespread harvesting of hemlock in advance of mortality, in contrast, causes immediate mortality and removal of biomass from the site. Although both processes affect thousands of acres of forest annually we have only a limited understanding of their effects on forest ecosystem function and productivity and the nature of the subsequent forest community. We anticipate that harvesting will yield different consequences than gradual mortality from the insect. Therefore we designed an experiment to simulate these contrasting impacts, by logging or girdling hemlock stands. Results from the experimental treatments will be compared to the changes observed in forests that are being infested by the adelgid, and can also be included in integrated analyses of a suite of large experiments that form a core component of the Harvard Forest LTER program.

    Deer and moose foraging can play a key role in shaping forest regeneration after disturbance in temperate forest. In 2008, we initiated a browsing survey of woody stems in the Simes hemlock removal experiment plots. There are regular moose sightings in the study area, and moose pellets are commonly found within the plots. Also, extensive browsing of tree regeneration in the logged plots was noted starting in 2007. Sampling of the 8 study plots was completed in Summer 2008. The next sampling is tentatively scheduled for Summer 2013.

  • Methods:


    A matrix of 56 circular subplots was established within the center 30m x 30m section of each of the 8 study plots. Subplot radius is 1.125m (4m2 area), giving a 25% sample of the center section of each plot. Subplot centers were marked with blue flags on wire stakes.


    Within the matrix of 2.25m diameter subplots, browsing was assessed on all woody stems (including shrubs except for Rubus sp.) more than 30cm and less than 3m in height and up to 5 cm DBH. The height class of the stem was recorded (30-99cm, 1m-2m, and 2-3m). Presence/absence of browse was assessed for each stem, presence/absence of browse greater than 2m in height was noted for stems greater than 2m high, and presence/absence of browsed stems greater than 5mm in diameter was recorded on stems that had twigs greater than 5mm in diameter. Browsing data provide the proportion of stems of each woody plant species browsed and some sense the relative importance of moose vs deer browsing.

    Plot-level observations during the 2008 survey

    Plot 1: No saplings in suplots 1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 15, 19, 23, 24, 32, 33, 41, 48, 55, 56; moose scat observed; deer (?) scat observed, unless it is very small moose scat; subplots 9, 11 have browsed seedlings less than 30cm tall.

    Plot 2: No saplings in subplot 7,22; Aralia hispidis dominant in subplot 20, not browsed; browsed in subplot 29; rubus browsed in subplot 2,14.

    Plot 3: No saplings in subplot 1-3,5-8,9-16,19-24,25-32,33-40,41-56

    Plot 4: No saplings in subplots 5,13,14,41,42,43,44,49,50,51; moose scat observed; deer and moose scat observed in subplot 8; Aralia hispidis browsed in subplot 20

    Plot 5: No saplings in subplots 16,29,30,31,32,37,38,39,40,44,46,47,48

    Plot 6: No saplings in subplots1-16,9-14,47-50,54-56

    Plot 7: No sapling in subplots 6,27; Vaccinium observed as highbush or lowbush in subplot 7

    Plot 8: Subplot 8: ACRU growing from base of tree

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (No Rights Reserved). Please keep the dataset creators informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset should include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Ellison A, Barker Plotkin A. 2009. Deer and Moose Browsing in Hemlock Removal Experiment at Harvard Forest 2008. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF124 (v.13). Environmental Data Initiative:

Detailed Metadata

hf124-01: browse data

  1. plot: plot number 1-8, the plots within the Simes hemlock removal experiment
  2. subplot: subplot number 1-56, each 4m2
  3. species: species code
    • ACPE: Acer pensylvanicum
    • ACRU: Acer rubrum
    • ASCA: Acer saccharum
    • BELE/BEAL: Betula lenta or B. alleghaniensis
    • BEPA: Betula papyrifera
    • CADE: Castanea dentata
    • CASP: Carya sp.
    • COCO: Corylus cornuta
    • DILO: Diervilla lonicera
    • FAGR: Fagus grandifolia
    • HAVI: Hamamelis virginiana
    • LOSP: Lonicera sp.
    • ILMU: Ilex mucronata
    • ILVE: Ilex verticillata
    • PIST: Pinus strobus
    • PRPE: Prunus pensylvanica
    • PRSE: Prunus serotina
    • QUAL: Quercus alba
    • QURU: Quercus rubra
    • QUSP: Quercus sp.
    • QUVE: Quercus velutina
    • RHNU: Rhododendron nudiflorum
    • SAPU: Sambucus pubens
    • TSCA: Tsuga canadensis
    • UNK: Unknown
    • VACO: Vaccinium corymbosum
    • VASP: Vaccinium sp.
    • VIAC: Viburnum acerifolium
  4. heightcl: height
    • 1: 0.30-0.99m
    • 2: 1.0-1.99m
    • 3: 2.0-3.0m
  5. dbh: diameter at breast height if the main stem was taller than 1.3m (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  6. browse: browsing presence/absence
    • Y: browsing observed
    • N: no browsing observed
  7. browse2m: browsing higher than 2m presence/absence
    • Y: browsing higher than 2m observed
    • N: browsing higher than 2m not observed
  8. browse5mm: browsing of twig(s) greater than 5mm diameter presence/absence
    • Y: browsing of twig(s) greater than 5mm diameter observed
    • N: browsing of twig(s) greater than 5mm not observed
  9. notes: notes