Research Sites


The Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) is located in Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA. It is the home of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES), which was initiated in 1955 in order to study the impacts of forest management on hydrology in the northern forest. The site covers 3,160 ha and includes nine gaged first-order catchments. These watersheds range from 22 to 1,015 m above sea level. Soils are predominantly sandy loams derived from glacial basal till (Typic Haplorthods). Mean precipitation is 1,400 mm. Mean temperature ranges from -9˚ C in January to 18˚ C in July. Vegetation is typical of the northern hardwoods forest type, with deciduous hardwoods such as sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marshall), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton), and white ash (Fraxinus americana L.) being most common. Catchment 4 was harvested using a strip clearcut system; except for streamside buffers, the entire catchment was harvested in sequential 25-m strips in 1970, 1972, and 1974. Catchment 5 was subject to a whole-tree harvest (WTH) in late 1983. Catchment 6 was not harvested. Ecological data at HBEF spans the period from 1964 to 2007.

Explore the dynamics of water flow regulation, water quality regulation, forest growth services, and greenhouse gas regulation at Hubbard Brook. More nuanced exploration of certain aspects of these services is available through several case studies.

The Turkey Lakes Watershed is located in Ontario, Canada and serves as the site of the Turkey Lakes Watershed Study (TLWS), originally established in 1980 as a large-scale effort to better understand the effects of acid deposition on the forest ecosystem. Additional research objectives include investigating the impacts of forest management practices on hydrology, vegetation dynamics, and ecosystem function. The watershed covers 10.5 km2 and includes 14 individual catchments. Total relief is ~300 m. Soils are predominated by spodosols derived from basal till. Vegetation is overwhelmingly characterized by mature trees typical of the deciduous northern hardwoods type, with almost 90% being sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marshall). Five catchments at TLW were analyzed, catchments 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35. Catchment 31 was treated with a 10-cm diameter limit (DL) harvest, in which 89% of the basal area was removed. Catchment 33 and 34 were subjected to a selection harvest (29% basal area removal) and a shelterwood harvest (42% basal area removal), respectively. All harvests were conducted in 1997. Catchments 32 and 35 were not harvested. The complete data set from TLW spans from 1981 to 2009.

Explore the dynamics of water flow regulation, water quality regulation, forest growth services, and greenhouse gas regulation at Turkey Lakes. More nuanced exploration of certain aspects of these services is available through several case studies.

The Neversink River Research Watershed (NRRW), home of the Frost Valley Model Forest, is the site of several U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) projects focused on hydrology and ecosystem-level dynamics. Located in Ulster County in the Catskill Region of New York, USA, this watershed is located in one of several larger predominantly rural basins that collectively provide unfiltered municipal water to nine million citizens of New York City. For this reason, the impact of forest management practices on stream quantity and quality is of particular concern in this region. Soils in the NRRW are thin and overlie till of glacial origin (1-3 m deep). Annual mean temperature is 5˚ C and annual mean precipitation is 1,600 mm. Vegetation is characterized by forests of the northern hardwood type, with American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton), sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marshall), and red maple (Acer rubrum L.) predominating. Three catchments were included in the present analyses, Dry Creek (DC57), Clear Creek (CL25), and Shelter Creek (SC40). SC40 is in turn composed of two sub-catchments, North Shelter Creek (NS25) and South Shelter Creek (SS20). NS25 was subjected to a light timber stand improvement (TSI) improvement in 1995/1996, in which ~7% of the basal area in the logged portion of the catchment was removed. SS20 was treated with a heavier TSI cut in 1996, wherein ~29% of the basal area was removed. Collectively, ~5.6% of the basal area on ~32% of the catchment area was removed in SC40. DC57 was subjected to a partial clearcut in 1996/1997, in which 97% of the basal area was removed in 75% of the catchment area. CL25 serves as an untreated reference catchment. Compared to HBEF and TLW, the complete data set from NRRW spans the smallest period of time, from 1992 to 2000.

Explore the impacts of water demand by beneficiaries on flow regulation services at NRRW in this case study

In 1932, the 15,000 acre (6,000 ha) Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF) (latitude 44E 00" N, longitude 74E 13" W) was donated by Archer and Anna Huntington for the specific use of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry "for investigation, experiment and research in relation to the habits, life histories, methods of propagation and management of fish, birds, game, food and fur-bearing animals and as a forest of wildlife". Part of ESF's Adirondack Ecological Station, the HWF is located mostly in the Town of Newcomb, western Essex County, near the geographic center of the Adirondack Park. The topography is mountainous and elevations range from 1500 ft to 2700 ft (457 m to 823 m). Vegetation consists of northern hardwoods (72%), mixed hardwood-conifer (18%), and conifer (10%). Dominant northern hardwood species include American beech (Fagus grandifolia), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple (Acer rubrum), and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis). Common conifers are red spruce (Picea rubens), balsam fir (Abies balsamea), hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), and white pine (Pinus strobus). HWF has a mean annual temperature of 40 degrees F (4.4 C) and mean annual precipitation is 40 inches (1010 mm). Upland watershed soils are generally less than 3 ft in depth and include Becket-Mundell series sandy loams (coarse-loamy, mixed, frigid typic Haplorthods) while Greenwood Mucky peats are found in valley bottom wetlands. Groundwater occurs predominantly in deep near-stream peats (3-10 ft depth), pockets of glacial till in valley-bottoms (0-6.5 ft) and limited zones of glacial outwash deposits. Five lakes ranging in size from 95 to 536 acres (38 to 217 ha) are located with in the boundaries of HWF, all of which are part of the Upper Hudson River Watershed.

Visualize the spatial arrangement of forest growth services at HWF in this case study.

In 2009, 50 plots were established in 20 watersheds in the western Adirondacks (Figure 1) in order to explore the effects of acid rain and soil chemistry on growth, regeneration, and condition of sugar maple. Plots were selected to ensure that sugar maple was a dominant component of the canopy and to represent a wide range of calcium availability. Within each plot, a system of nested quadrats was established for the purpose of inventorying canopy trees and saplings, as well as seedlings; number, species and size of all plants were recorded. Increment cores were taken from up to three mature (> 36 cm DBH), canopy-dominant sugar maple trees within each plot. Additionally, 3-5 soil pits were established in each plot, and samples were analyzed in the laboratory to derive measures of soil base saturation. This publication by Sullivan et al. 2013 contains more more details on the site, the plot selection process, and the data collection protocol.

The FEST database also includes water quality and fisheries data on the 52 lakes (Figure 2) monitored by the Adirondack Lake Survey Corporation (ALSC) as part of the Adirondack Long Term Monitoring (ALTM) project. More information on the ALTM project - and its sampling proptocol - can be found in Lampman et al. (2011).

Through this interactive case study, you can explore the impacts of forest management and soil chemistry on several ecosystem services in the western Adirondacks. You can also explore the impacts of management and acid rain on recreational fishing services in ALSC lakes here.

Figure 1

Figure 2 (image from Lampman et al. 2011)