Lauren Sanchez ‘11: Changes in Leaf Area Index (LAI) due to Ice Storm Damage at Harvard Forest

Discuss this project in MiddLab
Session: Slow Growth- MBH 216 at 10:45 a.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Steve Trombulak, Biology
Major: Enviromental Studies and Biology
Research Support: US Department of Energy

Terrestrial ecosystems play an integral role in the global carbon balance, potentially functioning as carbon sinks that fluctuate through time and seasonal changes. The net ecosystem exchange of these ecosystems has been heavily studied at the Harvard Forest Environmental Measurements Site (HFEMS) and has shown an increase in carbon sequestration over the past two decades. My study was conducted to analyze various impacts of the ice storm that struck New England in December 2008 with respect to the forest carbon flux. Several methods, including the eddy covariance technique, measuring downed woody biomass, and determining leaf area index (LAI) values, were used to evaluate and quantify the ice storm impacts. Several significant relationships were found in changes in LAI values, highlighting the importance of these measurements and analyses. The implications of these results also emphasize the importance of these forest measurements, given their role in the global carbon cycle.

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