The Bartlett Experimental Forest is an actively managed forest; managed portions (30%) reflect a range of forest patch sizes and structural distributions.
The Bartlett forest has a history of logging dating from colonial times through the beginning of the 20th century. Approximately 70% of the land area has remained uncut since the early 1900s. Natural disturbances include late 19th century fire, beech scale-Nectria complex (beech bark disease) beginning in the 1940s, severe wind disturbance resulting from hurricanes in 1938 and 1954 and a damaging ice storm in 1998.
Site specific topics
Exogenous factors likely to affect forest growth and composition into the future include climate change, increasing regional rates of atmospheric deposition (S, N and Hg), and new invasive species, such as the hemlock wooly adelgid, emerald ash borer, and Asian long horned beetle, whose ranges are likely to expand within the region. Bartlett Experimental Forest also represents the most Northeastern NEON site, and anchors the top of the north-south nitrogen deposition gradient along the eastern-side of the US.
The Bartlett site is primarily Eastern Deciduous, boreal ecotone. Nearly all of the Bartlett Experimental Forest is now covered by high forest. The primary forest cover type is the sugar maple-beech-yellow birch type. The upper elevations support stands of spruce and fir. Softwoods such as hemlock, balsam fir and spruce are commonly mixed with hardwoods, especially on cool steep slopes or on the poorly drained soils at lower elevations. Although white pine occurs mostly in stands at lower elevations, scattered specimens can be found over a large part of the forest. The site provides the deciduous-to-boreal forest transitional ecotone towards the ecosystems in the North.