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The Future of Oak Forests Project

Root Research

Dr. Hillary Callahan works on root research with interns as part of the Future of Oak Forests study.

Record Type: Forest Story

People: Hilary Callahan, William Schuster

Description: The Future of Oak Forests study, led by a team of 13 faculty-level principal investigators, is the first direct, manipulative investigation of the cascades of impacts likely to follow from the loss of oaks, in advance of what may occur should they succumb to current and/ or future threats. Oaks are a foundation taxon (a key species group) in northeastern forests, playing a vital role in the ecosystem.

Using a species-removal technique, the study mimics the effects of pathogens, such as sudden oak death, in a series of experimental plots (some with all oaks girdled, some with half the oaks girdled, some with all non-oaks girdled, and controls). Part of each plot is fenced to exclude deer. Prior to girdling the trees, researchers obtained baseline data on flora, fauna, soil, and environmental variables.

Read more about this project in the:Fall 2010 Black Rock Forest News

Keyword: Climate Change, Forest Ecology