The following list includes just some of the wide array of questions for which faculty and students might develop hypotheses that can be tested using the permanent forest plot data. In the future we will be adding a link that will allow faculty testing the same hypotheses to contact one another, coordinate their efforts, and see if the same results are apparent at different locations and across regions.
-How does total biomass compare in similar forests of different ages? or in different local forest types?
-How does the proportion of biomass in different species (or size classes) vary between urban and rural wooded plots?
-How much woody biomass is accumulated per year? (This can be answered by re-visiting plots in subsequent years.)
-What is the impact of the loss of ash trees (Fraxinus sp.) to emerald ash borer on forest woody composition and biomass? (Substitute a different local species and a different pest.)
-How does the biomass and species composition of edge plots compare to that of interior plots?
-How does the biomass of invasive species compare in edge plots and interior plots?
-How does the presence of invasive species (garlic mustard, bush honeysuckle, privet, multiflora rose, etc.) impact the biomass of native woody plant species. (Install plots on sites with and without the invasive species.)
-Does the percent of woody biomass in dead stems (snags) vary with change in local landscape position? Is the pattern similar in different regions?
– Does the edge type (road, electric line, pasture, buildings, etc) affect how the biomass, diversity, stem density, or other factors vary between edge and interior plots?
– Does the size of the forest fragment affect the biomass, diversity, stem density, or other variable of a plot, or the difference of these parameters between the edge and the interior?
– Does the extent (length) of the forest edge, or its proportion (ratio of edge to forest area) affect how the biomass, diversity, stem density, or other variables vary between edge and interior plots?
– Does the soil type (% moisture, % organic matter, pH) impact forest biomass, diversity, stem density etc?
– Is the rate of carbon accumulation (requires multiple year measurements) in a plot related to annual rainfall, temperature, etc. across multiple sites?
– How is carbon accumulation (or tree growth rates) affected by changes in temperature and rainfall from year to year at each site, and do we see similar patterns across all the sites?
– How does the time of year of data collection of tree measurements affect the ability to accurately measure tree growth over time? For example: Have a set of students do measurements in the fall in consecutive years (one class) and another set of students do measurements in the spring in consecutive years. Contrast the annual growth measurements calculated for each set (Fall to Fall, Spring to Spring)
– How much error is introduced into dbh measurements by different individuals measuring the same tree?
Updated July 15, 2011 by KKuers