Study ID 233

HF044. Land Use on the Southern New England and New York Coasts 1600-2001

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Realm: Terrestrial
Climate: Temperate
Biome: Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests
Central latitude: 42.530000
Central longitude: -72.190000
Duration: 3 years, from 1999 to 2001

1870 records

47 distinct species

Across the time series Pinus rigida is the most frequently occurring species


Foster, D., Von Holle, B. & Parshall, T. (2006) “Land Use on the Southern New England and New York Coasts 1600-2001. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF044.” The Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research Program. Available at:, accessed 2013.


Abstract: The widespread influence of land use and natural disturbance on population community and landscape dynamics and the long-term legacy of disturbance on modern ecosystems requires that a historical broad-scale perspective become an integral part of modern ecological studies and conservation assessment and planning. In previous studies the Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program has developed an integrated approach of paleoecological and historical reconstruction meteorological modeling air photo interpretation GIS analyses and field studies of vegetation and soils to address fundamental ecological questions concerning the rates direction and causes of vegetation change to evaluate controls over modern species and community distributions and landscape patterns and to provide critical background for conservation and restoration planning. In the current study we extend this approach to investigate the link between landscape history and the abundance distribution and dynamics of species communities and landscapes of the Cape Cod to Long Island coastal region including the islands of Martha's Vineyard Nantucket and Block Island. The study region includes many areas of high conservation priority that are linked geographically historically and ecologically. Despite the compelling rationale for examining this coastal region as a whole and for comparing its related though distinctive geographic areas an integrated and comprehensive study of the region has never been undertaken.We are investigating regional controls over landscape patterns and community distribution and will focus in detail on the dynamics of sandplain communities including grasslands heathlands barrens and woodlands which are unique components of this region and high priorities for conservation. In order to determine the historical and modern abundance and distribution of these community types and to relate these to historical patterns of land use fire windstorms and other disturbances we are developing: (1) GIS-based spatially explicit maps of land use land cover environment hurricane characteristics and cultural features across the region for the historical period (17th C to present) (2) pollen and charcoal diagrams for critical areas where data are currently unavailable and an integrated analysis of data from all studies across this region (3) analysis of the relationship between high priority communities (sandplain grasslands heathlands barrens and related communities) rare species and disturbance history (4) revised conceptual ecological models for sandplain communities and recommendations for ecological goals and management approaches.Methods:Species List - The data file lists all taxa recorded in the sample plots. Taxonomy follows Gleason and Cronquist (1991). In general codes are formed by taking the first four letters of the genus name and the first three letters of the species name. Where this causes confusion an eight letter code unique to each taxon is used.Plot Locations - Plots are identified by a general location code (2-3 letters) and a plot number (1-999). These two identifiers are also combined into a single six-character code. Because the plots were sampled from a larger set of potential plot locations plot numbers are not necessarily sequential. Total number of plots = 776 (270 in 1999 389 in 2000 117 in 2001).Soil Chemistry - For plots sampled in 1999 (CJ series) the two pairs of 0-15 and 15-30 cm samples were subsampled (1/8 cup per sample) and combined to make a single composite sample representing the plot which was then sent to Brookside Labs. For plots sampled in 2000 only one set of 0-15 and 15-30 cm samples was collected and ? cup of each was mixed to produce a composite 0-30 cm sample sent for analysis. In some samples concentrations of certain cations were below the detection limit of the analytical equipment; in these cases concentrations are listed as ?less than x ppm.? Before the soils data can be analyzed quantitatively these entries will need to be replaced by numerical values. There are no lab soils data for two plots sampled in 2000 (MT 50 and PB 14).Plant Cover - Cover of all vascular plant species rooted within the 20 x 20 m plot (also total lichen and bryophyte cover) was estimated on an eight-point scale.Tree Diameters - Diameters of all live trees at least 2.5 cm dbh and all standing dead stems at least 10 cm dbh were measured in all plots. Only truly arboreal species were measured; shrubs such as scrub oak and viburnum were not although individuals of these species routinely exceeded 2.5 cm dbh.Tree Cores - One to three cores of the largest sound trees were sampled in plots with trees greater than 5 cm dbh. Cores were taken at 30 cm above the ground. Most cores were mounted sanded and counted under a hand lens or microscope. Some cores of young trees were counted in the field and not collected Tree plots data in Southern New England Coast New York Coast (1999-2001) Unit of abundance = IndCountInt, Unit of biomass = NA