The Harvard Forest site is comprised of 3,750 acres of land and multiple research facilities; it is the core NEON site for the Northeast region. Harvard Forest is a department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University. Representative habitats at Harvard Forest include northern, transition, and central forests; marshes, swamps, and conifer-dominated bogs; and forest plantations.
The vegetation is typical of the Transition Hardwoods-White Pine-Hemlock region. The dominant vegetation is regenerating Eastern Deciduous temperate forest. Harvard Forest lies at the current northern range limit of the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like insect that is killing eastern hemlock across its range.
Site history & management
Since its inception in 1907, research and education have been the focus of Harvard Forest: the original purpose was to develop a field laboratory for students, a research center in forestry and related disciplines, and a demonstration of practical sustained forestry. Since 1988, Harvard Forest has been a Long-Term Ecological Research site, funded by the National Science Foundation to conduct integrated, long-term studies of forest dynamics.
Regionally, Harvard Forest represents a typical rural wildland allowing NEON to scale to larger spheres of influence, and anchors urban to rural gradient to suburban areas outside Boston and to the rural wildlands throughout New England, Maine and New Hampshire. Harvard Forest is centrally located relative to major Northeastern biotic and environmental gradients in the Transition Forest Zone, a floristic tension zone formed by the range limits of northern and southern taxa that is sensitive to future climate change.
Scientists, students and collaborators at Harvard Forest explore topics ranging from conservation and environmental change to land-use history and the ways in which physical, biological and human systems interact to change our earth. Learn about research at Harvard Forest.