Dataset Overview

Forest harvesting is one of the most significant disturbances affecting forest plant composition and structure in Western Massachusetts, yet few studies have quantified the effects of harvesting in this region. Massachusetts requires all commercial harvest operations above 87 m3 to file a Forest Cutting Plan (FCP) with the state. We have digitized these FCPs (see McDonald et al. 2006), covering all harvests from 1984 to 2003. Our study area is Massachusetts, west of the coastal basin, as defined by Motts and O’Brian (1981). We selected 126 sites for sampling. Two-thirds of the sites (89) were harvested once between 1984 and 2003, and these were selected randomly from the larger FCP database. The remaining one-third of the sites (37) were control sites selected randomly from all unharvested forest in the study area. The boundaries for our field surveys were those filed with the FCP for harvested sites, and were circular for control sites, proportional in size to the mean FCP in the physiographic region (Motts and O'Brien 1981): Connecticut River Valley (10.7 ha), Central Upland (11.3 ha), Berkshire Valley and Taconic Mountains (12.6 ha), and the Western Upland (15.9 ha). Note that our sampled sites were well-dispersed over the study area, and encompassed the variety of past agricultural land-use.

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This study was created to quantify the effects of forest harvesting in Western Massachusetts.

Data Collection Status

Data collection for this dataset has been completed

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Data License

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Preferred Citation

Kittredge D, Foster D, McDonald R. 2009. Timber Harvesting Field Study in Western Massachusetts 2004-2005. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF127. Available at:

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  • Timber Harvesting Field Study in Western Massachusetts 2004-2005
  • Harvard Forest
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