The Holt Research Forest research plan emphasizes two goals:
- Monitor long-term changes in the forest’s plant and animal populations.
- Document the effect of forest management on these populations.
Our long-term data sets have allowed us to study population changes resulting from spatial changes (a timber harvest) against a backdrop of changes over time. Starting in 1983, we collected five years of baseline data on the 40-ha study area. In the winter of 1987-88, we performed a selective harvest on ten randomly selected, 1-ha blocks on the 20-ha “managed” side with a similar scheme in the buffer blocks north, west, and south of the study area.The Harvest Design map illustrates the harvesting layout.
From 1988 to present we have collected post-harvest data from both the “managed” and “control” sides. A summary of the project was published in 1996. MP745: A Long-Term Study of an Oak Pine Forest Ecosystem: A Brief Overview of the Holt Research Forest is available online.
We have prepared a detailed techniques manual for conducting research at the Holt Research Forest (Maine Agricultural & Forest Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 153) to assure that our data are collected consistently over long periods. The manual also facilitates the comparison and sharing of data with other research projects, and has been used as a model by other forest ecosystem researchers.
Efforts are underway to create a new research plan more reflective of today’s issues and events that impact small woodland owners.