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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Herbaceous Community Composition in CRUI Land Use Project at Harvard Forest 1996

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  • Lead: Timothy Sipe, Richard Bowden, Charles McClaugherty
  • Investigators: Dax Bennett, Rachel Clark, Jessica Rigelman
  • Contact: Information Manager
  • Start date: 1996
  • End date: 1996
  • Status: complete
  • Location: Prospect Hill Tract (Harvard Forest)
  • Latitude: +42.53 to +42.55 degrees
  • Longitude: -72.20 to -72.17 degrees
  • Elevation: 335 to 357 meter
  • Datum: WGS84
  • Taxa:
  • Release date: 2023
  • Language: English
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.142.11
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: historical and retrospective studies; large experiments and permanent plot studies; physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions
  • LTER core area: population studies, disturbance patterns, human-environment interactions
  • Keywords: community composition, herbs, land use, species diversity, species richness
  • Abstract:

    Patterns of vascular plant species richness were investigated in six land use legacy sites (2 formerly plowed, 2 formerly pastured, and 2 permanent woodlot) in Prospect Hill to test predictions about the effects of disturbance, light and soil resources, and forest floor environmental heterogeneity on community composition.

    The occurrence of vascular taxa was recorded in each of the 60 5 m x 5 m contiguous plots within the 30 m x 50 m permanently gridded study plot in each land use legacy site in June 1996. Identification was made to species in most cases.

    Woodlots showed higher average species richness at the site level (53) than either pastured (52 species) or plowed (49) sites. However woodlots also show greater spatial variation in richness at the 5 m x 5 m resolution than either the plowed or pastured sites (in that order) as represented by the range, standard deviation, and coefficient of variation. Seasonally-averaged light levels at 50 cm are approximately twice as high in the plowed and pastured sites as in the woodlots, but the woodlots show significantly greater soil organic matter, carbon, nitrogen and water-holding capacity than the post-agricultural sites. These results suggest that soil resources may be more important than light in fostering higher herbaceous stratum richness. However, woodlot richness is also affected by the presence of taxa that are slow to re-colonize heavily disturbed sites (e.g., Epigaea repens) and to distinctive microsites that are less common in the plowed or pastured sites in the Harvard Forest system (e.g., exposed boulders). The greater spatial variation in woodlot richness is strongly influenced by both substrate diversity and by scattered hemlock trees, which substantially depress the herb stratum in localized patches.

  • Methods:

    Plot locations: Plow #1 Site: Prospect Hill Tract, Compartment # III, southern end. Plow #2 Site: Prospect Hill Tract, Compartment # III, southern end. Pasture #1 Site: Prospect Hill Tract, Compartment # I, southeastern edge. Pasture #2 Site: Prospect Hill Tract, Compartment # VIII, central edge. Woodlot #1 Site: Prospect Hill Tract, Compartment # VIII, northeastern edge. Woodlot #2 Site: Prospect Hill Tract, Compartment # VII, central.

  • Organization: Harvard Forest. 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366, USA. Phone (978) 724-3302. Fax (978) 724-3595.

  • Project: The Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program examines ecological dynamics in the New England region resulting from natural disturbances, environmental change, and human impacts. (ROR).

  • Funding: National Science Foundation LTER grants: DEB-8811764, DEB-9411975, DEB-0080592, DEB-0620443, DEB-1237491, DEB-1832210.

  • 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.

  • License: Creative Commons Zero v1.0 Universal (CC0-1.0)

  • Citation: Sipe T, Bowden R, McClaugherty C. 2023. Herbaceous Community Composition in CRUI Land Use Project at Harvard Forest 1996. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF142 (v.11). Environmental Data Initiative:

Detailed Metadata

hf142-01: community composition

  1. site: site
    • P1: Plow 1
    • P2: Plow 2
    • S1: Pasture 1
    • S2: Pasture 2
    • W1: Woodlot 1
    • W2: Woodlot 2
  2. plot: plot number. The 5 m x 5 m plots were numbered 1 through 60 from left to right and top to bottom in each grid.
  3. species: species name for all taxa encountered in the study
  4. presence: presence/absence for each taxon per plot per site
    • 1: present
    • 0: absent

hf142-02: species list

  1. scientific name
  2. common name