Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative

Forest Research at Harvard Forest: Hurricane Recovery Plots at Harvard Forest since 1937

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  • Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative

    • Address:
      705 Spear Street
      South Burlington, Vermont 05403
      United States of America

      Phone: (802) 656-2975


    Since 1907, the Harvard Forest has served as a center for research and education in forest biology and conservation. The Forest's Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, established in 1988 and funded by the National Science Foundation, provides a framework for much of this activity.


  • Emery Boose: Principal Investigator


  • continuous forest inventory , forest regeneration, Harvard Forest, hurricane damage, inventory, regeneration,


  • Harvard University Harvard Forest: lead
  • Duke Forest : partner

Geographic Coverage

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    Data Table

    • Title: Hurricane Recovery Plots at Harvard Forest since 1937
    • Start Date: 1937-01-01
    • Description: The New England hurricane of 1938, by destroying many acres of mature and semi-mature forests, initiated new forest associations over a large area. Permanent plots were established across the Harvard Forest in severely damaged stands (many of which were logged subsequent to the hurricane) to assess forest succession. Most of the plots involved successions following the blowdown of white pine on glacial till or outwash soils. From 1940 to 1948, and in 1978 and 1991, tree density and presence or absence of herb and shrub species were tallied. Pioneer species regenerating from seed and advance regeneration of longer-lived species quickly established at the sites; hemlock was the only species successfully regenerating after year 10, and most tree species were present within 2-4 years of the hurricane. By 1978, pioneer species such as gray birch and pin cherry declined or disappeared and red maple, white pine, paper birch and red oak dominated the plots. By 1991, most understory species present before the hurricane had returned, although there was a small group of understory species that apparently were more sensitive to disturbance and did not recover.

    • Purpose: To observe the succession of forest stands that were destroyed by a hurricane in 1938 and then, for the most part, logged after the hurricane.

    • Condensed Title:

    • Object Name: VMC.1387.2866

    • Data Type: mySQL
    • Citation: Foster D, Spurr S. 2009. Hurricane Recovery Plots at Harvard Forest since 1937. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF040. Available at:

    • Online Distribution:

    Attribute List

      Attribute Name: species
      • Label: Species field in the HF Hurricane Recovery Plots datasets
      • Description: Species field in the Harvard Forest Hurricane Recovery Plots datasets (HF040)
      • Storage Type: text
      • Measurment Type: nominal
      • Species List: Harvard Forest - hurricane recovery plots since
        • Code: ACPE
          • Definition: ITIS #28754, striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum)
        • Code: ACRU
          • Definition: ITIS #28728, red maple (Acer rubrum)
        • Code: ACSA
          • Definition: ITIS #28731, sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
        • Code: BEAL
          • Definition: ITIS #19481, yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
        • Code: BELE
          • Definition: ITIS #19487, sweet birch (Betula lenta)
        • Code: BEPA
          • Definition: ITIS #19489, paper birch (Betula papyrifera)
        • Code: BEPO
          • Definition: ITIS #19497, gray birch (Betula populifolia)
        • Code: CACA
          • Definition: ITIS #19504, American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
        • Code: CADE
          • Definition: ITIS #19454, American chestnut (Castanea dentata)
        • Code: CAOV
          • Definition: ITIS #19242, shagbark hickory (Carya ovata)
        • Code: FAGR
          • Definition: ITIS #19462, American beech (Fagus grandifolia)
        • Code: FRAM
          • Definition: ITIS #32931, white ash (Fraxinus americana)
        • Code: PIST
          • Definition: ITIS #183385, eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)
        • Code: POSSP
          • Definition: ITIS #22444, cottonwood (Populus )
        • Code: PRPE
          • Definition: ITIS #24799, pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
        • Code: PRSE
          • Definition: ITIS #24764, black cherry (Prunus serotina)
        • Code: QUAL
          • Definition: ITIS #19290, white oak (Quercus alba)
        • Code: QUBO
          • Definition: ITIS #19408, northern red oak (Quercus rubra)
        • Code: SALIX
          • Definition: ITIS #22476, willow spp (Salix )
        • Code: TIAM
          • Definition: ITIS #21536, American basswood (Tilia americana)
        • Code: TSCA
          • Definition: ITIS #183397, Canada hemlock; hemlock spruce (Tsuga canadensis)
        • Code: ULAM
          • Definition: ITIS #183397, Canada hemlock; hemlock spruce (Tsuga canadensis)


    • No methods recorded for this dataset

    Sampling Equipment

    • No sampling equipment recorded for this dataset

    Site Characteristics

    • No site characteristics recorded for this dataset