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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Vegetation Cover in the Clearcut Site at Harvard Forest 2010-2013

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  • Lead: Christopher Williams
  • Investigators: Myroslava Khomik, Richard MacLean
  • Contact: Information Manager
  • Start date: 2010
  • End date: 2013
  • Status: complete
  • Location: Prospect Hill Tract (Harvard Forest)
  • Latitude: +42.546 degrees
  • Longitude: -72.174 degrees
  • Elevation: 403 meter
  • Datum: WGS84
  • Taxa: Acer pensylvanicum (striped maple), Acer rubrum (red maple), Agrostis alba (redtop), Agrostis spp. (bentgrass), Amelanchier spp. (serviceberry), Aralia hispida (bristly sarsparilla), Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla), Aster acuminatus (whorled wood aster), Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch), Betula lenta (black/sweet birch), Betula papyrifera (paper birch), Castanea dentata (American chestnut), Carex spp. (sedge), Clintonia borealis (blue-bead lily), Coptis groenlandica (three-leaf goldthread), Comptonia peregrina (sweetfern), Cornus spp. (dogwood), Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hayscented fern), Dryopteris spp. (woodfern), Fagus grandifolia (American beech), Festuca spp. (fescue), Ilex verticillata (common winterberry holly), Juncus effusus (common rush), Lycopodium annotinum (stiff clubmoss), Lysimachia quadrifoli (whorled yellow loosestrife), Maianthemum canadense (Canadian may-lily), Medeola virginiana (Indian cucumber-root), Nyssa sylvatica, Oryzopsis asperifolia (rough-leaved rice grass), Panicum spp. (switchgrass), Picea abies (Norway spruce), Picea glauca (white spruce), Pinus strobus (white pine), Polytrichum juniperinum (haircap moss), Pontilla simplex (common cinquefoil), Poa spp. (bluegrass), Polygonatum spp. (Solomon's seal), Polygonum spp. (knotweed), Populus spp., Prunus pensylvanica (pin cherry), Prunus serotina (black cherry), Quercus rubra (red oak), Quercus velutina (black oak), Rumex acetosella (field sorrel), Rubus allegheniensis (Allegheny blackberry), Rubus idaeus (American red raspberry), Rubus spp. (dewberry), Sambucus pubens (elderberry), Smilax spp. (green briar), Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern), Treintalis borealis (starflower), Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock), Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry), Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry), Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood)
  • Release date: 2023
  • Language: English
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.222.6
  • 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: primary production, population studies, disturbance patterns
  • Keywords: biodiversity, canopy cover, clearcuts, forest disturbance, species composition, timber harvest, vegetation dynamics
  • Abstract:

    We used the line-intercept method to monitor the expansion of vegetation cover at our site, post-clearcut. This dataset was also used to calculate leaf area at the site from 2010 to 2012 and also in upscaling leaf gas exchange measurements collected during the 2010 and 2012 growing seasons. The data was used in two publications listed below (as of June 2014) and numerous poster presentations. Data collection was done during the REU summer programs, with Prof. William’s graduate students and postdocs acting as guides/mentors to the REU students.

  • Methods:

    Five 50-m transect lines were established, radiating from the flux tower into the surrounding clear-cut area. Both ends of each transect line were marked with permanent rebar poles for repeatability. The locations of the transect start and end points are as follows: Transect 1 (72°10”25.58” W 42°32’45.23” N to 72°10”25.39” W 42°32’46.82” N), Transect 2 (72°10”25.69” W 42°32’45.14” N to 72°10”27.11” W 42°32’46.34” N), Transect 3 part 1 (72°10”25.65” W 42°32’44.97” N to 72°10”26.81” W 42°32’45.22” N), Transect 3 part 2 (72°10”27.67” W 42°32’45.38” N to 72°10”28.78” W 42°32’45.55” N), Transect 4 (72°10”26.28” W 42°32’44.49” N to 72°10”28.13” W 42°32’43.67” N), Transect 5 part 1 (72°10”25.54” W 42°32’44.14” N to 72°10”25.55” W 42°32’43.33” N), and Transect 5 part 2 (72°10”25.59” W 42°32’42.98” N to 72°10”25.73” W 42°32’42.15” N).

    Vegetation cover surveys were conducted twice annually from 2010 till present, 1) at the beginning of June and 2) in July. A measuring tape was extended along each transect. We used a wooden stake to identify vegetation along an infinitely thin line immediately adjacent to the tape measure. All ground cover was identified based on species and form, and the starting point and end point of the identified cover was recorded, as noted on the measuring tape. The width was then calculated as the difference between the two points (start and end). All layers of vegetation were included, for example: when a shrub has grass below it, both were identified and recorded. Bare soil, rocks, stumps, and coarse woody debris were also recorded when no vegetation was present. The ground cover of each object i (i.e. vegetation, bare soil, rocks, woody debris, stumps) was calculated as:

    Eq. 1: % ground cover i = (width i (cm)/25000 (cm)) x 100%

    where width is the total sum of measured widths of i occurring along all five transects (5 x 50 m). Note that overlap of vegetative strata allows the sum of all ground cover to exceed 100%. Data analysis involved aggregation into cover-type groups, including vegetation types (i.e. herbs, shrubs and trees), bare soil, rocks stumps and debris. Each group’s relative contribution to total ground cover was calculated as the ratio of the group’s ground cover to the overall site’s ground cover within a given year. Furthermore, the percent of total vegetation cover for any species j crossing the line-intercept, analogous to species relative abundance, was calculated as follows:

    Eq. 2: % vegetation cover j = (width j (cm)/∑ width j (cm)) x 100%

    where width is the total width of the jth species from all five transects. Data from June and July surveys in each year were combined to provide annual statistics.

  • 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: Williams C. 2023. Vegetation Cover in the Clearcut Site at Harvard Forest 2010-2013. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF222 (v.6). Environmental Data Initiative:

Detailed Metadata

hf222-01: vegetation transects at Prospect Hill clear cut

  1. date: date the data were recorded
  2. year: year the data were recorded
  3. month: month the data were recorded
  4. recorders: names of people who sampled
  5. transect: identifying number of the transect from which the data was collected. Transects 3 and 5 are split into two parts.
  6. start.dist: length along the transect at which the transect was initially intersected by the vegetation (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  7. end.dist: length along the transect at which the vegetation no longer intersects the transect (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  8. width: total length along the transect of intersection by the plant (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  9. cover: code used to identify the various ground cover. For plants it is based on their scientific names, which are defined in the species field. Non-vegetated cover types and unidentified species are defined in notes field.
  10. species: species name
  11. form: vegetation group the data point belongs to. Unidentified vegetation and non-vegetated surfaces are listed as "NA"
  12. notes: additional notes describing non-vegetated cover types and also noting unidentified species