NEARC Fall 2015 has ended

Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 Annual Fall NEARC Conference. 

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Tuesday, November 10 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
The Ancient Woodlands of Martha's Vineyard, MA

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Brian Hall*, David Foster, and David Orwig, Harvard Forest

Ancient woodlands (AW) are forests that exist on sites that have been continuously forested and though harvested, have not been cleared or used for intensive farming. In practice, they are defined as woodlands that have remained forested for hundreds of years, or are shown as wooded on an area’s oldest high-quality maps. While they may, or may not contain old trees, AW are important because they often have different vegetation structure, composition, and soil characteristics than secondary forests which have regrown on previously cleared sites. As part of a multifaceted study on the nature and vegetation of Martha’s Vineyard, we conducted a GIS-based overlay analysis with maps from the 1850s and 1890s, 1938 aerial photos, and modern vegetation layers to identify potential AW sites. Field plots were established across the 95-square-mile island in a variety of forest types to describe the vegetation, verify AW status, and compare tree age and size structure to nearby secondary forests. We will discuss our findings regarding the variation in age structure across different forest types and land-use histories and address broader issues such as: why older forests can be important for biodiversity, concerns with using old maps to define AW, and field evidence that can be used to identify older forests.


David Foster

Harvard Forest

Brian Hall

Harvard Forest/University

David Orwig

Harvard Forest

Tuesday November 10, 2015 11:30am - 12:00pm
Green Mountain B

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