You are here

Harvard Forest Data Archive


Age of Nonstructural Carbohydrates in Four Tree Species at Harvard Forest 2015

Related Publications



  • Lead: Morgan Furze
  • Investigators: Andrew Richardson, Brett Huggett, Donald Aubrecht, Mariah Carbone, Molly Wieringa
  • Contact: Information Manager
  • Start date: 2015
  • End date: 2015
  • Status: complete
  • Location: Prospect Hill Tract (Harvard Forest)
  • Latitude: +42.535 degrees
  • Longitude: -72.188 degrees
  • Elevation: 350 meter
  • Datum: WGS84
  • Taxa: Acer rubrum (red maple), Fagus grandifolia (American beech), Fraxinus americana (white ash), Quercus rubra (red oak)
  • Release date: 2023
  • Language: English
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.341.3
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions
  • LTER core area: primary production
  • Keywords: carbohydrates, carbon, roots, stems, tree physiology
  • Abstract:

    We estimated the mean age of sugars within and between different organs of four temperate tree species using the radiocarbon (carbon-14) bomb spike approach. Radial patterns of carbon-14 in the stemwood and coarse roots showed that sugars tended to became older when moving towards the pith.

  • Methods:

    Please see Related Publications for specific details.

    Study species

    We selected mature trees from the following four species for radiocarbon analysis: red oak (Quercus rubra L., n=3), white ash (Fraxinus americana L., n=3), red maple (Acer rubrum L., n=3), and American beech (Fagus grandifolia, Ehrh, n=3). Red oak and white ash are ring-porous species, while red maple and American beech are diffuse-porous species.

    Field collection

    In November 2015, a sunlit branch, stemwood core, coarse root core, and fine roots were collected from each tree.

    Radiocarbon (carbon-14) analysis

    We used the carbon-14 ‘bomb spike’ to estimate the mean age of sugars within and between different organs sampled in November 2015. Branches and fine roots were ground in their entirety. Stem and root cores were subdivided into segments starting from the cambium (designed as 0): 0-0.5 cm, 0.5-1 cm, 1-1.5 cm, and 1.5-2 cm. Dried and ground tissues were extracted and analyzed for carbon-14 content at the W.M. Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility at the University of California, Irvine. Carbon-14 content was then directly compared to the northern hemisphere atmospheric 14CO2 record to estimate the mean age of C in the sugars in the sample (or sugar mean age).

  • 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: Furze M. 2023. Age of Nonstructural Carbohydrates in Four Tree Species at Harvard Forest 2015. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF341 (v.3). Environmental Data Initiative:

Detailed Metadata

hf341-01: radiocarbon age data

  1. year: year
  2. month: month
  3. species: species name
  4. tag: tree tag
  5. extract: extract
  6. organ: woody organ
  7. increment: woody organ segment starting from inside the bark and moving to the pith for stem cores and root cores, in centimeters
  8. age: mean age estimate from the radiocarbon ‘bomb spike’ method (unit: nominalYear / missing value: NA)