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NSF awards Harvard Forest $4.9 million to study landscape change

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 4, 2006 -- The National Science Foundation has awarded Harvard University's Harvard Forest $4.9 million to study drivers, dynamics, and consequences of landscape change in New England. The six-year grant, the largest in the Harvard Forest's 99-year history, will support research on forest responses to natural and human disturbances across the northeastern U.S.

Led by Harvard Forest Director David Foster, Harvard researchers and students will collaborate with scientists from the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Woods Hole Research Center, Brandeis University, Michigan State University, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Massachusetts.

"The Long Term Ecological Research study lies at the heart of the Harvard Forest's interdisciplinary research and education program in ecology and conservation," Foster says. "This funding will support faculty and students across the life, physical, and social sciences at Harvard and beyond to investigate critical ecological processes and environmental issues confronting the eastern U.S."

Foster and colleagues will examine the drivers of landscape change for human populations and diverse natural ecosystems in the eastern U.S. Drivers range from microbes to moose, invasive plants to exotic insects, hurricanes to forest harvesting, and global climate change to regional land-use. Their consequences will be explored through historical and regional studies, long-term measurements, modeling, and controlled experimental manipulations -- several of which are well into their second decade.

Findings could be incorporated into regional plans for land protection and management and inform local, state, national, and international policy on conservation, natural resource management, and the environment.

The new NSF funding continues research begun in 1988 when the Harvard Forest, a 3,000-acre ecology and conservation center in Peters
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Contact: Steve Bradt
steve_bradt@harvard.edu
617-496-8070
Harvard University
4-Oct-2006


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