Multi-decade, spatially explicit population studies of canopy dynamics in Michigan old-growth forests
Established in 1935, a regular grid of 256 permanent plots includes about 20% of a 100-ha old-growth forest at the Dukes Research Natural Area in northern Michigan, USA. Woody stems have been re-measured 3–7 times providing extensive quantitative records of population and community dynamics over periods of up to 72 years. Woody stems in upland hemlock–northern hardwood stands, about half of the study plots, have been mapped and individually tracked since about 1990. Remaining plots are in swampy stands dominated by Fraxinus nigra and Thuja occidentalis. Detailed, long-term demographic data for late-successional forests are rare in general; this data set is both of exceptional duration and unusual in spatial intensity and detail. Because sample plots are in a regular array over the stand, they can support analyses of spatiotemporal pattern at various scales. A major wind disturbance in 2002 provides a unique opportunity to compare disturbance response to baseline dynamics. Several publications based on this data set have already provided new insights into late-successional processes, but general availability of the data set with metadata should permit a range of further comparative and integrative analyses. The study is ongoing, and new measurements will be added to the archived data set.
The complete data sets corresponding to abstracts published in the Data Papers section of the journal are published electronically in Ecological Archives at 〈http://esapubs.org/archive〉. (The accession number for each Data Paper is given directly beneath the title.)