Project Overview

Red spruce winter injury, associated with red spruce decline in the Northern Forest, results from needle freezing that can lead to crown thinning and eventual tree mortality. We set out to measure impacts of this injury on long-term carbon storage in red spruce trees. We collected tree stem increment cores from 10-15 dominant red spruce trees in 30 forest plots in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. From the cores, we measured annual tree diameter growth and, in combination with growth equations and USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data on red spruce populations, estimated impacts on aboveground carbon storage for red spruce across the region. We found that needle loss from winter injury reduced red spruce growth for three or more years following the 2003 winter injury event. Cumulative loss for red spruce trees across the region was substantial. Importantly however, trees injured in 2003 experienced a surprising growth rebound since 2007.


To measure impacts of winter injury on long-term aboveground carbon storage in red spruce trees.

Dataset Availability

Downloadable: 2 datasets

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Status - Completed

Start date: 2010-01-01

End date: 2013-03-04

Study Area

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