Temperate Forests
Peart Lab - Dartmouth College

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Temperate Forest
Tropical Forest
Grassland Succession
Analytical Methods/Models
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Hubbard Brook
Mt. Mooslaki
Hubbard Brook
Mt. Moosilauke


Temperate forests in general have several advantages over most tropical forests for ecologists who seek to quantify trends in forest dynamics and to investigate the mechanisms that drive those trends. Most temperate forests have relatively low tree diversity, seedlings, saplings and trees can be aged, and their growth measured, using seasonal tree rings and bud scale scars.   Tree diversity decreases with elevation as well as latitude, and tree species replace one another over elevational gradients. Many temperate forests, including those in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, have been subjected to atmospheric deposition that has influenced trees both directly and indirectly (via changes in soil chemistry). 

Understanding forest dynamics requires detailed measurements of tree population parameters, particularly survival, growth and recruitment, and estimation of these parameters demands long-term research programs. We have long term projects at two sites in the White Mountains that together span an elevational range encompassing northern hardwoods, spruce-fir forest, the fir zone, and krummholz. At the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, we can take advantage of large-scale experimental manipulations. At Dartmouth-owned Mt. Moosilauke, our samples encompass two major soil types and east and west aspects. The west is more exposed to wind and associated atmospheric deposition.

With a successful 2010 field season, we now have over 20 yrs of demographic data from many of our research areas, and can begin to synthesize results for several research questions:

  1. How does population structure of a tree species change over its elevational range? Which population parameters are responsible for range limitations, and why?
  2. Are the population dynamics of tree species changing over time? If so, which population parameters are responsible? What are the consequences for relative abundances? Are elevational range limits changing as a result?
  3. How do soil type and aspect/exposure influence population dynamics?
  4. Is the performance of tree species improving in the krummholz, and is that associated with rising temperatures? Which species have the potential to raise the elevation of tree line?


Publications - Temperate Forest

Refereed journal articles and book chapters only.
Students mentored by Peart in italics (Dartmouth Ph.D. and undergraduate thesis students)

Landis, R.M. and D.R. Peart. 2005. Early performance predicts canopy attainment across life histories in subalpine forest trees. Ecology 86: 63-72.

Fagan, M.E. and D.R. Peart.  2004. Impact of the invasive shrub glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula L.) on juvenile recruitment by canopy trees.  Forest Ecology and Management 194: 95-107

Ruben, J.A., D.T. Bolger, D.R. Peart and M.P. Ayres.  1999.  Understory herb recovery following clearcutting in a northern hardwood forest: spatial and temporal patterns. Biological Conservation 90:203-215.

Shabel, A. B. and D.R. Peart.  1994. Effects of competition, herbivory and substrate disturbance on growth and size structure of pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica L.) seedlings. Oecologia 98: 150-158.

Gavin, D.G. and D.R. Peart.  1993.  Effects of beech bark disease on growth of American beech (Fagus grandifolia).   Canadian Journal of Forest Research 23:1566-1575.

Poage, N.J. and D.R. Peart. 1993. The radial growth response of American beech (Fagus grandifolia) to small canopy gaps in a northern hardwoods forest at Hubbard Brook, New Hampshire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 120:45-48.

Merrens, E.J. and D.R. Peart.  1992.  Effects of hurricane damage on individual growth and stand structure in a northern hardwoods forest. Journal of Ecology  80:787-795.

Peart, D.R., N.J. Poage and M.B. Jones. 1992.  Winter injury to subalpine red spruce: influence of prior vigor and effects on subsequent growth.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research 22:888-892.

Peart, D.R., C.V. Cogbill and P.A. Palmiotto. 1992.  Effects of logging and hurricane damage on canopy structure in a northern hardwoods forest at Hubbard Brook, N.H.  Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 119:29-38.

Peart, D.R.,  N. S. Nicholas, S.M. Zedaker, M.M. Miller-Weeks and T.G. Siccama. 1992. Current status and recent trends in red spruce and spruce-fir forests.  In C. Eagar and M.B. Adams (eds.) Ecology and decline of red spruce in the eastern United States.  Springer-Verlag.

Johnson, A.H., S.B. McLaughlin, M.B. Adams, E.R. Cook,  D.H.  DeHayes, C. Eagar, I.J. Fernandez, D.W. Johnson, R.J. Kohut,  V.A.  Mohnen, N.S. Nicholas,  D.R. Peart, G.A. Schier and P.S. White. 1992. A synthesis of epidemiological and mechanistic studies.   In C. Eagar and M.B. Adams (eds.) Ecology and decline of red spruce in the eastern United States.  Springer-Verlag.

Peart, D.R., M.B. Jones and P.A. Palmiotto.  1991.  Winter injury to red spruce at Mt. Moosilauke, N.H.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research 21:1380-1389.

Huntington, T.G., D.R. Peart, J.F. Hornig, D.F. Ryan and S.R. Russo-Savage. 1990.  Relationships between soil chemistry, foliar chemistry and condition of red spruce at Mt. Moosilauke, N.H.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research 20:1219-1227.

Peart, D.R., L.E. Conkey, W.H. Smith, F.B. Knight, M.B. Keifer and D.M. Grosman.  1988.  Status of the spruce-fir forest at Mt. Moosilauke, N.H: effects of elevation, aspect and soil type.  pp 173-182. In: G.D. Hertel (ed.) Effects of atmospheric pollutants on the spruce-fir forests of the Eastern United States and the Federal Republic of Germany.  Proceedings of a symposium, Burlington, VT.  U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Washington, D.C.