Hemlock Study Plot With Deer Fencing
The forest contains eight long-term plots continuously monitored since their establishment in the 1930s in forest stands 90-125 years of age, tree-ring study sites with trees up to 200 years old, dendrometer bands on 60 red oak trees in five stands ranging from 40 to 130 years old.
During the 1930s, Hal Tryon, Black Rock’s first forest director, installed a series of long term plots, and conducted forest inventories and botanical surveys that have been repeated up to the present.
Eight long-term plots in Black Rock Forest have been continuously monitored since their establishment in the 1930s in forest stands 90-125 years of age. This monitoring includes tree-ring study sites with trees up to 200 years old, and dendrometer bands on 60 red oak trees in five stands ranging from 40 to 130 years old.
Researchers are using these plots to examine changes in tree species composition and live aboveground biomass; understory vegetation; coarse woody debris; environmental variables such as water, temperature, and light; soil respiration; decomposition; nitrogen dynamics; soil water chemistry; mycorrhizal fungi; small mammals; and spiders, ants, ticks, and litter insects.
Educational initiatives centered on these plots include the Forest Sampling Design and Optimization Tool, developed by Matt Palmer at Columbia University, and funding for Authentic research: A new teaching approach utilizing the long-term plots of Black Rock Forest to study carbon storage in trees, developed by Peter Bower at Barnard College.