Howland Forest

This 558 acre tract of mature, lowland evergreen forest is located in central Maine, west of the town of Howland.

The forest canopy is dominated by Red Spruce, Eastern Hemlock, and White Cedar trees dating to pre-Civil war.

The tract has escaped the mechanized logging that characterizes the northern forests of Maine. This land was designated as a research forest in 1986 by the former owner, International Paper.

The forest has been host to researchers studying impacts of acid rain on ecosystems, and most recently for studies on how forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it as plant biomass.

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More about Forest Ecosystem Research at Howland Forest...

U.S. Forest Service site for Howland Forest...

Woods Hole Research Center site and Howland Forest...

Understanding Carbon Sequestration in Howland Forest

A team of scientists from the US Forest Service, University of Maine, Queen's University, Harvard University and Woods Hole Research Center study the forest near Howland, Maine, to measure carbon sequestration -- the amount of carbon that the forest accumulates in trees, deadwood and soil -- and the conditions that favor this storage of carbon. This research furthers the understanding of how different factors affect the rate at which forests store carbon and how carbon storage might change in the future.

     
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An important result from the carbon flux studies is the finding that this "over-mature" forest is still actively sequestering large quantities of carbon from the atmosphere. Related studies on adjacent commercial forestland showed that the reduction in carbon uptake following a shelterwood harvest only lasted about 7 years.

More about Smart Forest Technology at Howland Forest...

Archived Sensor Science Highlights...