COMPARISON OF SEEDLING REGENERATION AND LIGHT AVAILABILITY IN AN EXPERIMENTAL CLEAR CUT AND REFERENCE FOREST STAND IN THE HUBBARD BROOK EXPERIMENTAL FOREST, NH
Briana Becerra1, Natalie Cleavitt2.
1California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA, 2College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
We studied the course of regeneration for tree seedlings following an experimental clearcut at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. We compared the present day seedling layer in lower- and mid-elevation herb plots between a 30-year-old clear cut and a 100-year-old stand. We posed the question: does light availability affect seedling regeneration in terms of seedling composition and abundance? A total of 500, 1 m by 1 m plots will be analyzed for their composition and seedling demography. We relate seedling density and diversity to leaf litter and light availability in addition to stand age. We also present the sequence of seedling regeneration in permanent plots over the 30 years post clear cut in the experimentally cut forest. It is essential to understand how an ecosystem will rehabilitate in the case of a natural or man-made disaster. Studying the regeneration of tree species allows the scientific community to aid in rehabilitating disturbed areas. We expect to find a direct correlation between seedling regeneration and canopy composition.