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Land-Use History (1730-1990) and Vegetation Dynamics in Central New England,... Author(s): David R. Foster
Land-Use History (1730-1990) and Vegetation Dynamics in Central New England, USA
Author(s): David R. Foster
Source: Journal of Ecology, Vol. 80, No. 4 (Dec., 1992), pp. 753-771
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2260864 .
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Journal of
Ecology 1992,
80, 753-772
Land-use history(1730-1990) and vegetation
dynamicsin centralNew England,USA
DAVID
R. FOSTER
Harvard Forest,Harvard University,
Petersham,MA 01366, USA
Summary
1. Historiesofchangingland use and vegetationof a 380-haforestedarea in central
Massachusetts(Prospect Hill tractof the Harvard Forest) were reconstructedto
investigate(i) theenvironmental
controlsoverland ownershippatterns,agricultural
practice and loggingactivity,and (ii) the vegetationresponse to these land-use
factors.
2. Forest clearance and agriculturalexpansion parallel trendsfor central New
England: increasingratesof deforestationthroughthe late eighteenthcenturyled
to a peak in 1820-80 when more than 80% of the land was open. Reforestation
on abandoned fieldscommencedin 1850 and increasedprogressively
throughthe
earlytwentiethcentury.
3. Ownershippatternsvaried temporallyin turnoverrate and size of individual
holdings.Twenty-five
lots comprisingthe studyarea were sold an average of 13
timesin theperiod1730-1910. Land sales weregreatestin theperiodofspeculation
and low-intensity
agriculture(1730-90), lowestduringthetransition
to commercial
agricultureand small-scaleindustry(1790-1840), and high duringthe period of
agriculturaldecline in the mid to late 1800s.
4. Land use in the mid 1800s, includingwoodlot (13% of the studyarea), tilled
fields(16%), pasture (70%) and marsh (1%), formedan intricatepatternbest
explained by soil drainage and proximityto farmhousesand town roads. This
land-use pattern controlled the reforestationprocess: field abandonment and
reforestationproceeded outward from poorly drained pasture adjacent to the
continuouswoodlotsand eventuallyincludedproductivetilledland.
5. The consequences of 250 years of land-use activityvary at differentscales.
Regionally,the distribution
of modernand pre-settlement
foresttypesmatchwell
despitestructuralchangesand the loss of some tree species. At a landscape scale,
are stronglycontrolledby land use. Canonical corremodernforestcharacteristics
variationis bestexplainedbyhistorical
spondenceanalysisindicatesthatcommunity
factors(distinctionbetweenprimaryand secondarywoodlands,forestage, cutting
historyand timingof site abandonment)and site factors(slope positionand soil
drainage). Picea rubens and Tsuga canadensis forestsare restrictedto primary
woodlands, Pinus strobusand sproutsof Castanea dentataare largelyconfinedto
old pastures, and Betula populifolia, Populus spp. and Acer rubrumare most
abundantin cut-overold-fieldPinus stands.
6. Long-termforesttrendsin the twentiethcenturyinclude a decrease in the
importanceof Pinus strobusdue to loggingand the 1938 hurricane,a gradual
decline in early successionalhardwoods (Betula populifolia,Populus spp., Acer
rubrum),and increase in later successionalspecies (Quercus rubra, Q. velutina,
Acer saccharum). Tsuga and northern-hardwood
species (Acer saccharum,Fagus
grandifolia)declineddramaticallythroughoutthe settlementperiod; however,the
major foresttrendover the past 100 yearshas been a continualincreasein Tsuga.
Key-words:agriculturalhistory,canonicalcorrespondenceanalysis,deforestation,
forestdynamics,humandisturbance
753
Journalof Ecology 1992,80, 753-772
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754
Land use and
vegetationhistory
in New England
Introduction
Despite the long traditionin north-western
Europe
of utilizingpalaeoecological and historicalmethods
to investigatehuman impactson the environment
and vegetation(Iversen 1973; Peterken & Game
1981; Peglar, Fritz & Birks 1988), there are few
comparable studies in NorthAmerica. This difference is oftenattributedto the shorterdurationof
intensivehumanimpactin much of NorthAmerica
versusEurope (c. 400 yearsvs. >5000 years) but is
nonethelessremarkablegiventhe intensity
and geographicalextentof humanimpactin theNew World
and the ecological importanceof understanding
this
history(Marsh 1864; Fisher1933; Ecological Society
of America 1991). Investigations
of land-usehistory
and vegetationchange provide:
1. a backgroundforunderstanding
thedevelopment
of the modern vegetational landscape, which is
essentialforanyecologicalstudy(Christensen1989);
2. informationon the response of communities
to novel disturbanceprocesses or intensitiesthat
may be comparedwithstudiesof naturalprocesses
to evaluate the resistance or resilience of communities to contrastingfactors (Houghton et al.
1983; Schoonmaker& Foster 1991);
3. perspectives
thatmaybe usefulin thepreservation
of unique communitiesor managementof cultural
landscapes (Birks et al. 1988).
Conclusive studies linking human activityand
ecosystemchange require comprehensiveanalyses
ofland-usehistoryand long-term
vegetationrecords.
The presentstudyseeks to evaluate thesetwo kinds
of information
for a nearly400-ha forestedarea in
central Massachusetts(Prospect Hill tract of the
Harvard Forest) and for a period extendingfrom
the mid eighteenthcenturyto the present. The
studyhas three major objectives: (i) to document
spatial and temporal patternsof land-use and to
relate these to environmentalfactorsand cultural
conditions;(ii) to identifythe major environmental
and humanfactorsthatare responsibleforchanges
in the structureand compositionin the vegetation
duringthisperiod, and (iii) to documentlong-term
changesof the vegetationin thisstudyarea.
Although the forest investigatedis unusual in
having an extensively documented history, the
major patternsof land-use and change in forest
cover are representativeof broad upland areas of
the north-eastern
USA (Bidwell 1916; McKinnon,
Hyde & Cline 1935; Black & Brinser1952). In order
to place the resultsof the research in a broader
geographicalframework,the study begins with a
descriptionof the early post-settlement
vegetation
ofthetownshipofPetershamand WorcesterCounty,
Massachusetts.It thenexaminesthe specifichistory
and effectsof land-usepracticeson theProspectHill
tractof the HarvardForest in Petersham.
Studyarea
PHYSICAL
SETTING
Worcester County occupies 3900km2 in central
Massachusetts(Fig. 1). The westerntwo-thirdsof
the county formsan undulatingupland generally
exceeding 250 m a.s.l., whereas to the east and
south-eastthe land slopes to a prevailingaltitude
of 100m. Second-growthforest currentlycovers
approximately70% of the land area (MacConnell
& Niedzweidz 1974).
Petershamis located in north-western
Worcester
Countyat an average altitudeof 275 m a.s.l. Relief
of c. lOOm encompasses a series of north-south
trendingridges and valleys. The soils are largely
acidic and derivedfromgranodioritesand gneisses.
The meanannualtemperature
is 8 5 ?C, thefrost-free
season averages 5 monthsand the annual precipitation is 105cm including150cm of snow (Rasche
1953). The townshipis 90% forested.
The Prospect Hill tract of the Harvard Forest
comprises380ha of the northern,
highestportionof
the major ridgein Petersham.Altituderangesfrom
270 to 420m a.s.l., steep slopes occur towardsthe
westernand north-eastern
marginsof the tract,and
mostof thearea is undulating(Fig. 2). Variabilityin
I
72 W
I
I
680
46"N-
Northern
Hardwoods .
and Spruce- Fir
TransitionHardwoods
""HARVARD FOREST
420
Pitch Pine-Oak
/
CentralHardwoods
km
Fig. 1. Forest vegetationmap of New England showing
WorcesterCounty, Massachusetts(WC) extendingfrom
the Central Hardwood zone throughto the Northern
Hardwoodzone. The locationof theHarvardForestin
Petersham,Massachusettsin indicatedby the solid circle.
ModifiedfromWestveld(1956).
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755
D.R. Foster
(a)
(b
PrspectHill 40
SA/I~~~~~
Sanderson Farmhouse
U
TanyardMillSite
(c)
i---'-~~~~~~~~~~~
\/' ,rir
,
Fig. 2. The Prospect Hill area of the Harvard Forest
showing (a) topography (5-m contours), (b) soil drainage
(from very-well drained (light shading) to very-poorly
drained (black) and (c) location of stonewalls and roads.
The maps are at matchingscales and the outline of the
soils map conformsto that of the studyarea boundary.
Locations of the John Sanderson farmhouse, tanyard mill
site and top of Prospect Hill are indicated on all maps.\
\
,-_
L
L_
~
' '
~
'~
'__
,
,
',X1
,_,
,,
'',
8
"
.'\
,'
-
---
l
,
s
5
,
'-----
Stonewalls
\~Roads
relief,depthto bedrock,and presenceof a fragipan
create a highlydissected patternof soil drainage
population density (Figs 3 and 4; Torbert 1935;
Pabst 1941; Barraclough1949). This historycan be
divided
intofivemajor periods:
2b).
(Fig.
1730-50 speculation;
1750-90 low-intensity
agriculture;
CULTURAL
SETTING
1790-1850 commercialagriculture
and smallindustry;
Duringthe past 250 yearsthe centralMassachusetts
1850-1920 farmabandonmentand industrialization;
landscape has undergone several transformations 1920-90 residentialperiod
in response to changes in land-use practices and
(Raup & Carlson 1941; Black & Wescott1959).
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756
Land use and
vegetationhistory
in New England
100
50
~0
0
.
1720
1760
1800
1840
1880
1920
1960
Year
Fig. 3. Historicalchanges in forestcover forthe State of
Massachusetts(o), the townshipof Petersham(0), and
the ProspectHill tract(U). Sources of information
include
Dickson & McAfee (1988), MacConnell (1975), Rane
(1908) and Baldwin (1942) for Massachusetts,and Raup
& Carlson (1941), Anonymous (1959), MacConnell &
Niedzwiedz (1974), Averill, Averill & Stevens (1923),
Cook (1917) and Rane (1908) forPetersham.Estimatesof
forestcover on the ProspectHill tractwere derivedfrom
land-use notes in deeds, Spurr (1950) and unpublished
sourcesin the HarvardForest Archives.
F
s
rv
(
-)dro
r
l
The townshipof Petershamwas settledin 1733.
With limited access to markets, the eighteenthcenturyrural economy was based on farmingand
small-scalecommercialactivity(Coolige 1948; Pruitt
1981; Baker & Patterson 1986). Forest clearance
proceeded initiallyat a pace of 1-4% per year
and increasedde(Fig. 3). Improvedtransportation
mandforagricultural
productsin the late eighteenth
and earlynineteenthcenturiespromptedan increase
in commercialfarmingand small-scaleindustryin
rural centralNew England (Pabst 1941; Thorbahn
& Mrozowski 1979; Rothenberg 1981). Forest
clearance to provide pasture land for beef cattle
and sheep resulted in an increase in open land
fromapproximately50% of the townshipin 1800
to nearly85% in 1850 (Figs 3 and 4). Remaining
forestsoccupied steep and rockyslopes, wetlandsor
narrowvalleys and were cut for timber,fuelwood
and tanbark and were often grazed (Cline et al.
1938; Gould 1942; Spurr1950).
19985;
Fig. 4. The townshipof Petershamdepictingforestedareas (black) and open land (white) in 1830, 1900, 1938 and 1985.
In the map for 1900 the stipplingindicatesformeragriculturalland abandoned fromc. 1870 to c. 1900 thatseeded into
old-fieldPinus strobus.Progressiveabandonmentof farmsled to a concentrationof non-forestedlands on north-south
ridges.Data were obtainedfromtheAtlas of WorcesterCounty(1830, unpublished),unpublishedmaps fromthe Harvard
Forest Archives(1935-39) and air-photograph
analysis(1985; 1:24,000colour-infra-red).
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757
D.R. Foster
V
(b)
Fig. 5. (a) Millstone,streamand retaining
wall of an abandoned mill on the Prospect
Hill tractoftheHarvardForestin Petersham,
Massachusetts. The mill was activelyused
from
1780 to 1850 to grindTsuga barkhs
and
fomrexetoffedsetndtrug
forests~~
doiae
~ to~produce
yQerutannic
~ acid
ur,Ae
Castanea
wood
foruse
in leathertanning.Providinga major source
of income supplementalto agriculturalac, the mill exerteda pronouncedimpact
tivity
on thewoodlandsin theneighbouring
region
rubrum
as they were
Betu)Mlasoe
cutpaprieram
to provide
Freaxinungs
a
frequentlyand
of tannin.
wamerfcana
asandhere
atlo The
themodern
Prospect
Hillforest
trct
regularsource
is comprisedofForest.Poorpsb
Acer saccharumand
HltrcofteHarvard
M.Fraxinus
Fluetsha)
americana established in the late 1800s.
(b) Broad-scale abandonmentof agricultural
land across New England in the mid to late
1800sgave rise to extensiveareas of secondgrowth forest. Stone walls delimitingthe
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758
Land use and
vegetationhistory
in New England
Commencingin the mid 1800s the populationof
Petershamdeclined as youngerinhabitantsleftfor
urbanjobs or agriculturalopportunitiesin the Midwest (Fisher 1921; Black & Brinser 1952). Farms
wereabandonedand neglectedfieldswerereforested
(Fig. 5) (Munyon1978; Garrison1987). The modern
period has includeda nearlycompletecessation of
agriculturalactivity,broad-scaleregrowthof forest
cover and a conversionof the townto a residential
status.Since the 1930stherehas been an increasein
homes and a reversalin the downwardpopulation
of directhuman
trendbut a decrease in theintensity
impacton the land.
Methods
VEGETATION
OF
WORCESTER
COUNTY
Data on the early post-settlement(c. 1770-90)
vegetationof WorcesterCountywere derivedfrom
Peter Whitney's (1793) account which includes
a geographical descriptionof each township,its
landscape and vegetation. Whitneytravelled the
within20-30 yearsof the date of
countyextensively
incorporation
ofmostofthetownshipsand described
the vegetationbefore extensivehuman alteration.
Whitney's data were analysed using detrended
correspondenceanalysis(Hill & Gauch 1980) with
species abundance assigned as either present or
abundant (see Table 1). Results of the samples
(townships)ordinationwere used to identifyforest
type groupingsand to develop a countyvegetation
map. A phytosociologicaltable was constructed
fromsamples and species output.The map of early
forestvegetationwas compared to recentregional
forest descriptions(Westveld 1956). Species' nomenclaturefollowsFernald (1973).
The long-termimpact of land-use on presentday forestcompositionwas analysed in two ways.
Using a GeographicInformationSystemthe spatial
overlap between soil drainage, land-use history
and foresttypes in 1908 was examined and transitions in forestcommunitiesbetween 1908, 1937
and 1986 were documented. Informationon soils
and vegetationwas derived fromHarvard Forest
(HF) Archives.Canonical correspondenceanalysis
(CANOCO, terBraak 1986) was thenused to evaluate
the relationshipbetween the vegetation and environmentalvariables (includingsite and historical
factors)forthe forestin 1937. The 1937 vegetation
was selected for intensiveanalysis because of the
availabilityof an extensive data set and the fact
that the 1937 vegetation representedthe maximum extentof secondarydevelopmentbefore the
1938 hurricane,when approximately75% of the
timber was windthrown(Foster 1988; Foster &
Boose 1992). Vegetational informationanalysed
in CANOCO, included 253 samples (approximately
0-04-haplots) and 105 species. Tree species abunscale based on
dance was assigned on a five-factor
volume, whereas shrubs, herbs and mosses were
recordedas presentor absent.Sitevariablesanalysed
includedsoil drainage(fiveclasses; Spurr1950) and
slope position(fiveclasses). Historicaland land-use
variablesincludedstandage (derivedfromthe 1937
survey), time since agricultural abandonment,
presence/absenceof cuttingin the previous 100
years, historicalfrequencyof turnoverin ownership, and the distinctionbetween primary(always
forested) and secondary (formerlycleared land)
woodlands (cf. Peterken1981).
Results
WORCESTER
SETTLEMENT
LAND-USE
AND
VEGETATION
HISTORY
The historyofland ownership(1738-present) ofthe
ProspectHill tractwas compiled fromproprietors'
grants, deeds and tax valuation lists. Complete
ownership chronologies were compiled for each
of the 25 propertylots that comprise the tract.
Turnoverrates in ownershipwere calculated on a
decadal basis as the percentageof the 25 lots that
had been sold out of a family.Land-use history
was derivedfromvarious sources. Deeds and sale
recordsprovideinformationon lot statusas either
wooded, pasture, mowingsor tilled field, and on
timber rightsheld on woodlots. For each forest
stand in the studyarea the followinginformation
had been reconstructed
by earlierresearchersat the
Harvard Forest: date of clearance, agriculturaluse,
timing of abandonment, successional vegetation,
and historyof logging(Fisher1921; Raup & Carlson
1941; Spurr1950; Gould 1960).
COUNTY
-
EARLY
POST-
VEGETATION
On a regionalbasis the distributionof forestvegetationin the 1700s closely matchesthat of today.
Forest types includingCentral Hardwoods, TransitionHardwoodsand NorthernHardwoods (Fig. 6)
axis across
are arrangedon a south-eastto north-west
WorcesterCountyfollowingthe altitudinalgradient
(Figs 1 and 7, Table 1; Westveld 1956). Central
Hardwood forestswere dominatedby Quercusspp.,
Carya glabra, Castanea dentataand Pinus strobus.
Other species includedAcer rubrum,Pinus rigida,
Betula spp. and Fraxinus americana. Transition
Hardwoodforestsincludethesame species,withmore
Acer rubrum,Betula lenta and Fraxinusamericana
as well as Fagus grandifolia,Tsuga canadensisand
occasional Picea spp. and Larix laricina. In the
NorthernHardwood forest,Carya, Castanea and
Pinus rigida were minor components; additional
common species included Acer saccharum,Betula
alleghaniensisandB. papyrifera.In addition
tothese
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759
D.R. Foster
Table 1. Forest compositionof the townshipsin WorcesterCounty,Massachusettsin the late 1700s as reportedin the
journal of Peter Whitney(1793) and interpretedfromdetrendedcorrespondenceanalysis (Fig. 6). The townsin each
foresttypeare listedat the bottomof the table. Modal Value (MV) of abundance refersto Whitney'sdescriptionas (1)
occasional, scatteredor rare, and (2) commonor dominant.Frequencyis the percentageof townsin a forestregionin
whichthe species occurred
Carya ovata
Juglanscinerea
Platanusoccidentalis
Ulmusamericana
Sassafrasalbidum
Quercusprinus
Chamaecyparisthyoides
Carya glabra
Pinus rigida
Castanea dentata
Quercusspp.
Pinus strobus
Acer rubrum
Pinus resinosa
Betula spp.
Fraxinusamericana
Fagus grandifolia
Tsuga canadensis
Picea spp.
Larix laricina
Fraxinusspp.
Betula lenta
Acer saccharum
Betulapapyrifera
Betula alleghaniensis
Tilia americana
Central
Hardwoods
TransitionHardwoods
Pine and Flood Plains
Transition
Hardwoods
Northern
Hardwoods
MV
MV
Frequency
MV
Frequency
MV
Frequency
2
2
1
2
1
2
0-50
1-00
0-83
0-66
0-33
0-17
2
2
2
2
1
2
1-00
0-83
1-00
1-00
0-83
0-33
1
1
2
1
1
0-66
0-66
0-17
0-17
0-17
1
0-17
1
2
1
2
1
2
1
2
2
2
2
1
2
2
2
2
1
1
2
2
1
0-04
0-24
0-04
0-04
0 04
0-92
0-48
0-96
1-00
0-76
0-72
0-16
0-80
0-80
0-48
0-40
0-08
0-04
0 04
0-08
0-04
1
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
0-20
0-60
0-80
1-00
1-00
0-60
0-20
1-00
0-80
0-80
0-80
0-40
0 40
0-40
0-60
1.00
0-40
0-60
0-20
1
2
2
2
2
1
2
1
2
2
Frequency
0-45
1-00
0-45
1-00
1-00
0-91
0-36
0-09
0-27
0 18
Forest region
Townships
CentralHardwoods
Northbridge,Oxford,Southborough,
Douglas, Dudley, Mendon, Milford,Northborough,
Upton, Uxbridge,Webster,Westborough
TransitionHardwoods
withPlains
Grafton,Harvard,Lancaster,Leominster,Sutton,West Boylston
TransitionHardwoods
Athol, Barre, Bolton, Charlton,Fitchburg,Hardwick,Holden, Hubbardston,New
Braintree,Northbridge,Paxton, Petersham,Phillipston,Princeton,Oakham, Rutland,
West Brookfield,
Shrewsbury,
Spencer, Sterling,Sturbridge,Templeton,Westminster,
Worcester
NorthernHardwoods
Ashburnham,Gardner,Lunenburg,Royalston,Winchendon
No information
Berlin,Clinton,Leicester
major foresttypes,in the easternhalfof the county
on floodplainsand sandyoutwashthereoccurreda
distinct assemblage of trees including Platanus
occidentalis, Ulmus americana, Carya ovata and
Juglanscinerea.
PETERSHAM
FOREST
-
EARLY
VEGETATION
AND
CHANGE
Peter Whitney(1793) described the original vegetation of Petersham as predominantlyQuercus
on the uplands and Betula, Fagus grandifolia,
Acer rubrum,Fraxinus, Ulmus and Tsuga in the
lowlands. Castanea and CaryalJuglanswere noted
as increasingfollowingsettlement.Changesin forest
cover throughtimeforPetershamparallel those for
other townshipsin Worcester County (Black &
Wescott 1959), but were more rapid and greater
as a whole(Fig. 3).
thanforthestateofMassachusetts
At the heightof agriculturalactivity(mid 1800s),
the Petersham landscape was a mosaic of small
fields(indicatedby thepatternof stonewalls;Figs 2c
and 5b) and isolated woodlands (Fig. 4). Reforestation proceeded outwardfromthe forestremnants,
leaving progressivelysmaller areas of open land
along the ridgetops (Fig. 4). One major patternof
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760
Land use and
vegetationhistory
in New England
(a)
200
*Rut
Rt
%%
*Gar
Roya
4
Pinus rigida Plains
*Sut
[email protected]
Northern
*Hub
*Petersham
*
WBWesmHa WrEa
HardwoodsAth
*Stu
NBr
N
150
DHardwoods
Win
L_nh
Lan
0~~~~~~~
WB
WBo
"Upt
PaBar
*Pri/Har *te/Pil
Ste Cha
*Spe G
*Gra
%
%
?l-Worh
[email protected]
100
and Flood Plains
Transition
Hardwoods
*oxf
*NBo
*WBo
*Dud/Fit
SBo/Uxb
* NBri
Waro
Men/Oako
50 _
Central
Hardwoods
O
I
\Mil,
cm
2A
x
* Sas alb
(b)
400
200
-
Betpap*
Oo
* Larlar
* Pic SPP.
* Tsu can
Fag gra*
Betspp
*Ace rubFraspp # * Ace sac
* p
Ulmame
* Jugcin
Pla 0cc
* Car ova
* Pinrig
* Fraame Pinres ** Pinstr
* Betlut
Que spp.
*Betlen
Bet len
0
*C
*
r gla
den
*~~~~~~~0Cas
-200
* Cha thy
-400
-200
0
Axis1
200
400
of theforestvegetationof Worcester
Fig. 6. Sampletownships
(a) and species(b) plotsforPeterWhitney's(1793) description
County,Massachusettsdisplayedon the firsttwo DECORANA axes. Townshippoints(a) are groupedintomajor vegetation
types (NorthernHardwoods, TransitionHardwoods and Central Hardwoods). The Pinus rigida plain and flood plain
variantoftheTransitionHardwoodsis indicatedbysquaresymbolsand separatedbya brokenline.Town namesare provided
in Table 1. Townshipabbreviationsuse the firstthreeor fourlettersof the name. Species abbreviations(b) are based on
the firstthreelettersof the genusand species: Acer rubrum,Acer saccharum,Betula lenta,Betula lutea,Betulapapyrifera,
Betula spp., Caryaglabra, Carya ovata, Castanea dentata,Chamaecyparisthyoides,Fagus grandifolia,Fraxinusamericana,
Fraxinusspp., Juglanscinerea,Larix laricina,Picea spp., Pinus strobus,Pinus rigida,Pinus resinosa,Platanusoccidentalis,
Quercus spp., Sassafrasalbidum, Tsuga canandensisand Ulmusamericana.
naturalreforestation
includedestablishment
ofPinus
strobuson abandoned pastures and fields (Fisher
1918). An alternativepatterninvolvedsuccessional
hardwood species, including Betula populifolia,
Populus spp., Acer rubrumand Prunus spp. Over
time, as eitherthe Pinus strobuswas harvestedor
the successionalhardwoodsdied, the modernforest
of Quercus, Acer rubrum,Pinus strobus,Fraxinus
americana,Betulalentaand B. alleghaniensis
emerged
(Fisher 1933).
PROSPECT
HILL
TRACT
Historyof land ownershipand development
Historicalchangesin the size and durationof individuals holdings reflectthe type and intensityof
land-use and indicate ongoing modificationof the
forestlandscape. Duringthe 160-yearperiodbefore
acquisitionby Harvard Universityin 1907 each of
the 25 lots comprisingthe Prospect Hill tractwas
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761
D.R Foster
400
-
NorthernHardwoods
Ash
Gar
0
300300
E
Cha
.oS
W Br
Spe
Stu
<
200
ou
Of
Mil
\BaS
42?00'
Roy Win
Fit
/
Gra
WBo NBo Har
Upt
"Plains"'
Bol
L
Lan
Bo
ardwoods
\4Cenral
Leo
Ste
Sut
Uxb Men NBri
0
WBoy
Wor
tDud~~
100
Hub
Phi
*
* *~~~~~~~~
Wes... Tern
Pri
Rut
Oak
Bar
Pet
*
*
N Br Hard
*HoI
Ath
*
Transition Hardwoods
*
Pax
g
42?10'
42020'
42030'
42040'
Latitude North
Fig. 7. Location of the townshipsof WorcesterCounty, Massachusettson altitudinaland latitudinalgradients.Major
vegetationaltypesare indicated.CentralHardwoodsvegetationis foundpredominantly
at low altitudein thesouth-eastern
cornerof the county,whereasthe townshipsin the elevated north-western
area are characterizedby NorthernHardwood
forests.Townshipsin the Pinus rigidaand floodplain subtypeof TransitionHardwoods are markedby square symbols.
Townshipabbreviationsuse the firstthreeor fourlettersof the name.
Proprietors'grants
100100~~~~~~~~~~
.-.
III IV
Harvard Forest->
Jonathan Sanderson
firstpurchase
8080
/
/ \Adonai
Shomo
60
o
-j
Sandersonprobate
4020 -
Lots transferredto descendants
I
1740
*''I
1760
I
1800
I
I
I
1840
"
1880
p
I
1920
I_
1960
Date
Fig. 8. Historicalchanges in ownershipturnoverforthe ProspectHill tract,HarvardForest. The graphdepictsthe perto directdescendants
centageof lots in the tractthatwere sold in the precedingdecade. The percentageof lots transferred
(generallysons) is indicatedby the brokenline and largersolid dots.
sold an averageof 13 times.From 1733to 1770turnover exceeded 80% on a decadal basis as absentee
ownersspeculatedon land grantsand sold theirlots
to the firstsettlers(Fig. 8). During the commercial
agriculturalperiod through the mid 1800s, the
lowest level of turnoveroccurred (10-40% on
a decadal basis) as families retained their land,
worked it intensivelyand graduallyexpanded their
holdings throughacquisition of adjoining parcels
(Fig. 9). After1840 and coincidentwiththe beginningof farmlandabandonment,ownershipturnover
increased markedly; owners often held parcels
for only 4-12 years between sales. A temporary
decline in land sales occurredduringthe economically depressed period of the American Civil War
(1861-65; Coolidge 1948).
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762
Land use and
vegetationhistory
in New England
1780
1770
1760
N
3
2
1810
1800
1790
:.
t; ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~.....
/oi
~
.
Sa~~~~nderson
McClellan
Pierce
1870
~~~~~~1860
Mann
Pierce
Ward
/Spooner
~~~~~~Spooner
Ado(o
Shomo
nai
Shomo
Adonai
Hodges
Marsh
/
Briggs eta!.
Spoonerd
r
Sanderson
1890
1880
X
Sanderson
Ward
anderson
Ward
Pierce
Ward
.
rson
Farnsworth
McClellan
1840
1830
anderson
Pierce
1850
aswo
arn
Farnsworth
McClellan
Wcllard
1820
Farnsworth
McClellan
Goddard
Farnsworth
McClellan
Goddard
f Willson
Knapp
Chandler
/
4
1900
Adonai Shomo
~Russell
Marsh
M h
Leonard
Stone
-
Fig. 9. Ownershipmaps at 10-yearintervalsfor the period 1760-1900 on the ProspectHill tract,Harvard Forest. The
propertiesof the threelargestlandownersforeach decade are indicatedas (1) black, (2) diagonal lines, (3) shaded. The
names of theownersof theseareas are listedto thebottomrightof themap in descendingorderof propertyarea. Growth
in the size of the largerfarmsis indicatedby the Sandersonfarmfrom1800 until1840.
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763
D.R. Foster
Farm development
Agricultural
historyon theProspectHill tractclosely
paralleled that of the township.Forest clearance
commenced c. 1750, proceeded at a slow pace
through 1780, and abruptlyincreased thereafter
until 1840-50 when open land peaked at nearly
80% (Fig. 3; Fisher 1933; Raup & Carlson 1941;
HF Archives). During the period 1820-80 there
was relativestabilityin the patternof open land and
forest.
The geographic distributionof land-use types
relatescloselyto the physiographic
and soil characteristicsof the area, and to the distancefrommajor
roads and dwellings(Table 2; Figs 2b and 10). The
earliest areas to be settled and developed were
adjacent to roads and houses. Nearly 50% of this
accessible land was tilled (Fig. 10), whereas across
the entire tract approximately70% of the area
was cleared for pasture, 17% was tilled, 13% was
wooded and slightly
morethan1% was
continuously
marsh (Table 2). Permanentwoodland comprised
threewooded swampsin the centreof the tractconnectedalong poorlydrainedseepages and adjoining
steep or rockysites (Figs 2b and 10). Tilled land
primarilyoccupied well-drained and imperfectly
drainedsoils whereaspasturecovered the broadest
range of drainage conditionsincludingall of the
verywell drained soils, 75% of the poorlydrained
sites, and nearly70% of the well and imperfectly
drainedsoils (Table 3). The processof closelyfitting
tillageareas to soil drainageled to irregularly
shaped
and small fields(Figs 2c and 10).
Logginghistory
The history of logging includes four periods:
(i) land clearance; (ii) woodlot cuttingduringthe
agriculturalperiod; (iii) commercialharvestingof
old-fieldPinus strobusand old woodlots(1885-95);
and (iv) Harvard Forest management. Different
objectives on the part of the landowners led to
varyingeffectsduring these periods. Once agriculturallandwas cleared,deeds fromthenineteenthcenturyindicatethat the remnantwoodlands were
a valuable source of Castanea and Tsuga for fuel
wood, timberand tan bark. Forest reconstructions
indicatethatwoodlotswere cut repeatedlyforpolesized trees afterthe initial removal of the virgin
timberin the mid to late 1700s (E.P. Stephens &
S. Spurr,HF Archives;Fig. 11).
I
N
>
Pasture
and Mowing
\/tdWoodlot
?
Tilled Land
Open Marsh
Fig. 10. Land-use historymap forthe ProspectHill tract,
HarvardForestdepictingpastureand mowing,woodland,
tillageand marshat the timeof mostintensiveland-usein
the mid 1800s. Althoughland use changedover time,this
map showsthecontinuouswoodlandarea and all sitesthat
were ever tilled.ModifiedfromSpurr(1950) and Harvard
Forest Archives.
of the ProspectHill tract,Harvard Forest. Land-use typesdescribe
Table 2. Soil drainageand land-use characteristics
the primaryuse of the land duringthe heightof agriculturalactivityin the mid 1800s (Spurr 1950; HF Archives) with
areas givenin hectares.In the modernlandscape all of the area is forested.All values were calculatedon a Geographic
Information
Systemand are roundedto the nearestinteger
Land use (ha)
Soils
Pasture
Tilled
Woodlot
Marsh
Totals
Very well drained
Well drained
drained
Imperfectly
Poorlydrained
Verypoorlydrained
14
150
27
45
3
49
9
2
-
14
4
13
14
4
14
213
40
60
21
Totals
239
60
45
4
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764
Land use and
vegetationhistory
in New England
axes and species axes in the canonical
variables,environmental
Table 3. Weightedcorrelationmatrixforenvironmental
correspondenceanalysisof 1937 data fromthe ProspectHill tract,HarvardForest. Environmentalvariablesincludestand
woodland, cuttinghistory,and abandonmentdate.
primary/secondary
age, soil drainage,slope position,pasture/tillage,
Env Ax x representsthe sample scores on the xth ordinationaxis, whichare linear combinationsof the environmental
variables. Spec Ax x representsthe sample scores on the xth ordinationaxis whichare derivedfromthe species scores
by weightedaveraging
Age
Soil
Slope
Pasture
Primary
Cut old field
Abandonmentdate
Env Ax 1
Env Ax 2
Spec Ax 1
Spec Ax 2
Age
Soil
Slope
Pasture
Primary
Cut
old field
Abandonment
date
1-00
0-21
0-28
-0-21
0-47
-0-31
0-47
0-79
0-37
065
0-25
1.00
0-44
-0-16
0-34
0.01
0-34
0-54
-0-68
045
-0-46
1.00
-0-34
0-53
-0-17
0-49
0-57
-0-51
047
-0 34
1-00
-0-68
0-31
-0-46
-0-46
-0-08
-039
-0-05
1.00
-0-29
0-84
0-85
0-02
0-71
0.01
1.00
-0-01
-0-23
-0-25
-0-19
-0-17
1-00
0-84
0 09
0-70
0-06
From 1885 to 1895, essentiallyall of the merchantabletimberon the ProspectHill tractwas cut
often followed by burningof the slash (Fig. 11)
(Fisher 1921; HF Archives).This timbercame from
woodlots that were cut for Tsuga, Castanea and
Quercus and from former pastures abandoned
between 1845 and 1865 and then dominated by
Pinus strobus.
j
vegetationdevelopment
Post-agricultural
Followingthe heightof forestclearance (1820-80),
reduced agriculturalactivityresulted in rapid reforestation
(Fisher1921;HF Archives).Today, essentiallythe entirestudyarea is covered by maturing
forest(Fig. 12; Gould 1960). The modern forest
historyis best understoodby examiningthe pattern
of land-abandonmentand subsequent vegetation
development.
Patternand rateof land abandonment
On theProspectHill tractand in centralNew England
in general, farm abandonment and reforestation
commenced slowly in the mid nineteenthcentury
and subsequentlyincreasedgreatlyinto the 1900s.
morethan25% of the ProspectHill
By 1880 slightly
tractwas forested,whereasthisfigureincreasedto
85% by 1937(Figs 3 and 12). The geographicpattern
of field abandonmentwas complex, controlledin
part by an individualfarmer'seconomic situation
and land holdings.However, the generalprocess is
consistent:abandonmentfirstof poorlydrainedand
low-lyingpastureareas adjacentto the intactwoodland, followed later by well-drainedand arable
lands (Fig. 12). From 1840 to 1875 only pastures
were abandoned, whereasthe firsttilledfieldswere
abandoned in the late 1870s. By 1880 the forested
1830
4
2
F
^
~~~
~~~18
70"a.'
1881~~~~~88
i
Forest <20 years old In 1907
Open land in 1908
Fig.11. Cutting
history
oftheProspect
Hilltract,
Harvard
Forestin the periodbeforeHarvardForestownership
(1907).Datesinwhiteareasindicate
theyear(s)ofcutting.
Shaded areas werein immature
forest(<20 yearsold)
and blackareaswerein openfieldor scrubin 1907.Data
reconwerederivedfromhistorical
maps,notesandforest
storedin theHarvardForestArchives.
Muchof
structions
thewhiteareacontained
merchantable
timber
in 1907.
area formeda continuousstand withsmall pasture
in-holdings(Fig. 12). Open areas were limitedto
25% of the area in 1900,and followingthe transfer
of the land to Harvard Forest,the remainingfields
were abandoned or plantedwithconifers.
Vegetationdevelopment
fromfarmabandonment
to present
Maps and forest-wide
inventories
fromthetwentieth
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765
D.R. Foster
1840
44
1880-99
1840-59
1860-79
1900-19
1920-present
~~0
~~~
500
m
Fig. 12. The historyof land abandonmentforthe ProspectHill tract,HarvardForest at 20-yearintervalsstartingat the
peak of land clearance in 1840. Areas in forestduringthe previous20-yearperiod are depictedin black. For each period
abandoned pastureland is shaded, whereasabandoned tilledfieldsare indicatedby diagonallines. Data werederivedfrom
historicalreconstructions
storedin Harvard ForestArchives.
century(in 1908, 1937 and 1986 - HF Archives)
depictstriking
relationshipsbetweenvegetationand
land-use patternsand dynamicsin the vegetation
resultingfrom forest development, management
and the 1938 hurricane.In 1908 Picea forestsand
the limitedarea of Tsuga forestwere confinedto
formerwoodlots (Fig. 13). One-thirdof the former
woodlot area was classified as hardwood forest
(Quercus spp., Acer rubrumand Betula spp.) with
scattered Tsuga understorey. Former pastures
were forestedwithPinus (Pinus strobusand Pinus
strobus-Tsuga canadensis forest) or successional
stands of Betula populifolia, Acer rubrum and
Populus spp. Approximately40% of this pasturehardwoodarea had supportedPinus strobus,which
was cut in the 1890s. Only 21% of the one-time
pasture land was still open in 1908, whereas 53%
of the tilledfieldswas open.
Major changes from 1908 to 1937 occurredas a
resultof standdevelopmentand silviculture
(Fig. 13).
Nearly 100ha of conifer plantationswere established on fields(42%), clear-cutPinus strobusland
(28%) and successional hardwood areas (12%).
The majorityof the plantations(81%) were establishedon well-drainedsoils; approximately75%
on formerpastures and 25% on tilled fields.The
mortalityof Castanea in 1913-16 due to blight
(Cryphonectriaparasitica; Kittredge 1913; Spurr
1950) led to the naturalconversionof formerCastanea stands to Tsuga (84%) or hardwood (16%)
forest.Overall, hardwoodforestwas reduced from
135ha to 75 ha between 1908 and 1937. However,
stands of long-livedspecies (Quercus, Betula lenta,
B. alleghaniensis,Fraxinus, Fagus and Acer saccharum) increased from 40 ha to 56 ha, whereas
successional hardwood forest (Betula populifolia,
Populus and Prunus) decreased greatly (95 ha
to 19ha; McKinnon, Hyde & Cline 1935). The
reduction in successional species resulted from
clearingfor plantationsand selective management
for longer-livedspecies (Cline & Lockhard 1925;
Gould 1960). Increases in Tsuga (<1ha to 16ha)
and Pinus strobus-Tsuga canadensis (12 to 27ha)
forestsfrom1908to 1937were largelydue to developmentof foreststhathad a substantialcomponent
of Tsuga in the understoreyand perhaps due to a
reductionin post-loggingburning(Marshall 1927;
Spurr 1956).
Withina year of completionof the 1937 forest
survey,the forestlandscape was completelyaltered
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Landuse
Soil drainage
?S
-
.19%
*
Verypoor 66?b
Poor
t75
-
-
(4 ha)
'Marsh/Swamp
-88%<
Woodlot(45 ha)
831%
Verygood 100%
Imperfect67% ------------22%Y------------------1%-
-
6%
Pasture(239 ha)
r62%
Tle(6h)
Ild(0a
GoodF .23% --
Landuse
1908 Foresttype
Marsh/Swamp(4 ha) Lt56%-
3-
Tilled3(XOha)
(
**
37%
Open (87 ha)
Acer rubrum(33 ha)
a%ia
2A%
Pasture( 239 ha) -2%
79,%<- Pinusstrobus(64 ha)
Castanea (4 ha)
8?0.%
-
Hardwoods(135 ha)
Pinusstrobus-Tsuga( 12ha)
3'
Woodlot (45 ha) 4-23X___Tsuga(<lha)
-23%
2%*--__
----
by the 1938 hurricane(Foster & Boose 1992). Coincidentally,the management objectives of the
Harvard Forest shifted to favour natural stand
development rather than timber production of
conifers(Gould 1960). The changes wroughtby
natural disturbance and forest development are
reflectedin major changes in forest composition
from 1937 to 1986 (Fig. 13). Overall there was a
major increasein hardwoodstands(75 ha to 188ha)
resultingfrom preferentialhurricane damage to
plantations(reduced from96 to 35ha) and Pinus
strobusforests(56ha to 25 ha), cuttingof conifers,
and old-fieldsuccession (Spurr 1956; Foster 1988;
Foster & Boose 1992). Open areas were reduced
by65%, Acer rubrumforestdoubled (17 ha to 35 ha)
and Tsuga forestscontinued to increase through
standdevelopment.Nearly35% of the Tsuga stands
developed following hurricane damage, cutting
and natural succession in hardwood stands, 41%
fromhurricane-damagedPinus strobusand Pinus
strobus-Tsuga canadensis stands and 20% from
hardwood stands, includingAcer rubrumswamps
(HF Archives).
96%-m- Tsuga( <I ha)
---'87%-
Plcea(12 ha)
LAND-USE
HISTORY
AND
FOREST
COMPOSITION
1908 Vegetation
1937 Vegetation
42%-
Pinusstrobus(64 ha) 39%-
-
11%
Open (87 ha)
-28%.sI
s4
*
--.
.7
ji%
Open (49 ha)
~~~~~~11%
Acer rubrum(33 ha) 1-216%49*l
rubrum 349%3hI
A2ce%
14%
-
2
=
Hardwoods(135 ha) V44%
PinusstrobtisTsuga (12ha)
Plantation(96 ha)
s
Pinus
strobus(56 ha)
..-
Acer rubrum(17ha)
78%-*4 Hardwoods(75 ha)
-------------------
=
927%.74.%r~k Plnusstrobus-Tsuga(27 ha)
Tsuga(< Iha) i 93%.3%
Castanea (4 ha) ,-84%
21%-1
Tsuga(16 ha)
Plcea (I 2 ha) 87%...................................-96% .. - P/cea(I I ha)
1986 Vegetation
1937Vegetation
-
Plantation (96 ha) t33%-
90%-)-i
1.68%t%~-~~
Open(49ha)
Plantation (35 ha)
Open(16ha)
'9T~
2%-p.- Hardwoods(188ha)
(75 ha)t8>X%_,,,,-685%
Haurdwoods
Plnus strobus (56 ha)
-
-----
70% -15%-----------
4
r r
5ce
Tsuga(lG6ha)| 365%.
Pinus strobus-Tsuga(27 ha)
Pccea
(1I ha)'
83%_.
17.-
Pnus strobus (25 ha)
-- ;Acer rubrum(35 ha)
bu(17h)t%~~'~---******34%..<j
-
55%
. .,,
,_,.
Canonicalcorrespondenceanalysisofthe 1937forest
data identifiesconsiderablevariationin stand compositionthatmay be explainedusinga combination
of historicaland site factors.A minimalset of variables thatbest explainsthe data was identified
using
theoptionofforwardselectionofvariableswitheach
variabletestedand an overalltestapplieldby means
test(terBraak 1986).
of a Monte Carlo permutation
Site factorsselectedincludedsoil drainageand slope
position, whereas important historical variables
included: primary/secondarywoodland, cutting
history,abandonmentdate, and pasture/cultivation.
This model was significant
at the0-01level. The first
two CCA axes (Fig. 14) account for 62% of the
species-environmentrelations.
Samples separate out clearly along the landuse and soil-drainagegradients(Fig. 15). Primary
woodlands are concentratedon the intermediateto
poorlydrainedsites,whereas secondarywoodlands
occurmorewidelyon all buttheverypoorlydrained
soils(Fig. 15). There are strongcorrelationsbetween
variables,e.g. between
manyof the environmental
primarywoodland and abandonmentdate, forest
5%::I
Tsuga(3Oha )
Hardwoods(188ha)
Fig. 13. Transitiondiagrams depictingrelationshipsbetweenland-use,soilsand vegetationin 1908,1937and 1986.
The areal extentof each categoryor vegetationtype is
indicatednextto it. Percentagesreferto the contribution
to percentagesof the adjacentcategoryor typeand do not
equal 100% forsome typesas onlymajor relationshipsare
depictedforclarity.
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767
D.R. Foster
age and slope position,and between slope and soil
drainage(Table 3). These correlationsare apparent
on the species and stand biplots as axes for the
environmentalvariables lie closely and parallel to
each otherand can be used to interpretstanddistribution.The distribution
ofprimarywoodlandstands
along the firstaxis is largelyexplainedby variation
in age of the forestas controlledby cuttinghistory.
A numberoftreeand shrubspecieshave an affinity
for the primarywoodland and swamp sites; these
include: Tsuga canadensis, Picea rubens,Fraxinus
nigra,Nyssasylvatica,Viburnumalnifolium,Kalmia
latifolia,Hamamelis virginiana,llex verticillata
and
Nemopanthusmucronata(Fig. 14). The Tsuga and
swamp forestson primarysites generallysupport
littleherbaceousgrowthdue to deep shade; consequently,the herbdistribution
on the CCA does not
showanyspecieswithan affinity
forprimaryforests.
The secondary forestsare characterizedby early
successionalspeciesand speciesofricher,driersites.
Pru pen
Trees
0.3
Age
Cor cor.
Til ame.
sac
AceAcec
-Fra ame
Bet len
Fag gra
.
Que .
t
Ulm ame
Pruser
-0.3
Fig. 14. Species and environmental
variable
bi-ploton the firsttwo CCA axes for 1937
vegetationdata fromthe ProspectHill tract,
Harvard Forest. Species plots are separated
bygrowthformintotrees,shrubsand groundcover. Species abbreviationsare based on the
firstthree lettersof the genus and species:
Trees - Acer rubrum,Acersaccharum,Acer
spicatum,Betula lenta, Betula lutea, Betula
papyrifera, Betula populifolia, Corylus
cornuta, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus
americana, Fraxinus nigra, Nyssa sylvatica,
Picea rubens,Pinus strobus,Plantationspp.,
Populus tremuloides,Prunus pensylvanica,
Prunusserotina,Quercusrubra,Quercusspp.
Tilia americana,
Tsuga canadensis,
Ulmus
americana;Shrubs - Azalea spp., Crataegus
spp., Hamamelis virginiana, Ilex verticillata,
Kalmia latifolia,Nemopanthusmucronata,
Ostrya virginiana, Rubus allegheniensis,
Rubus hispida, Vaccinium corymbosum,
Vacciniumpensylvanicum,Viburnumacerifolium, Viburnum alnifolium, Viburnum
cassinoides, Viburnumdentatum;Herbs Aralia nudicaulis,Asterspp., Athyrium
filixfemina, Cypripedium acaule, Clintonia
borealis, Coptis groenlandicum, Cornus
canadensis, Dennstaedtia punctilobula,
Fragaria virginiana,Gaultheriaprocumbens,
Gramineae, Lycopodium complanatum,
Lycopodium obscurum, Lycopodium lucidulum, Maianthemumcanadense, Mitchella
repens,Monotropa uniflora,Onoclea sensibilis, Osmunda cinnamomea,Parthenocissus
quinquefolia, Pteridiumaquilinum, Pyrola
rotundifolia,
Rhus
radicans,
Smilacina
racemosa, Solidago spp., Sphagnum spp.,
Trientalisborealis,Viola spp. Environmental
variables are labelled on the tree plot, with
Pop tre
!.
Oron
Abandonment
Date
Pic rub
*
. Bet lut
Ace rub
Ace spi
.
Pasture
Primary
0.5
Bet poP
. Fra nig
Nys syl.
Slope
Soil
--0.4
-0.2
Shrubs
Craspp
Vibaln
* Kal lat
Vib ace
_0
I
I
Aza spp
.
I
Hamvir
Rub all . Vac cor.
Vibden
I*
le vir
* Nem muc
o
-0.4
Herbs
T0.2
DCypaca
Lyccom.jLyc luc
bor
Pteaqu* Tri
Mon
Mal
Mnuni
Smi-rai
Ican
Gra spp Pyrrot . Lycobs
Gau
pro.
Rhurad
-0r3
Sol spp. .Astsppprqui CorCan
Ara nud
Athfil
. Osm cin
Vio Spp
*
Ono sen
* Copgro
the centroids of nominal variables (primary/
secondary woodland, pasture/cultivation,
cuttinghistory)indicatedby a large square,
and ordinal variables (age, abandonment
date, soil drainage, and slope position)
indicatedby arrows.
pop
;Bet
*
cut..s
Pl
a p
Tsu can .
S
* Sphapp
-0.4
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o!s
p
Secondaryforests
768
Land use and
vegetationhistory
in New England
forests
Primary
porydrie
wel drainy
Very
/~~~
Porydri ~~
Fig 1.
amle isriutonfor25
pot o th frs CA
xes Te
ivsio btwenprmar
ad
ecndry
orst aon
Axs1 siniatdbytevetca
roe
ln.
oldriag
lass
r eprte
y oidwvylns.Otles
ihi
h
drainage~Alse ar niae
ydfeetsmos
eog
fa sml
otenx
re
oltp
ti ersneya
open~~~~~~
dotifi
eog
~
~~~
otenx
ose
ol
yei
sidctdb
Discussion
One major conclusionderived fromthis historical
analysis is that at any scale - forest,township,
countyor state- land-usepracticesand theresulting
vegetation patterns have changed continuously
(Bradshaw & Miller 1988; Fosteret al. 1992). Over
the past 250 years there have been few periods of
stabilityin whicheven the extentof forestvs. open
land was relativelyconstant (Fig. 3). Population
density, the agricultural,forestryand industrial
practices,and the geographicalpatternof land use
were all highlyvariable. The changingqualityand
intensityof human activityresultedin the dynamic
vegetationcharacteristic
of thisperiod.
LAND-USE
HISTORY
Across centralNew England there has been great
similarityin the regional pattern of land use in
terms of the extent and timingof deforestation,
major agriculturaluses, and the historyof farm
abandonment and reforestation(Bogart 1948;
Gates 1978; Taylor 1982; Garrison 1985). The
ProspectHill tractof the Harvard Forest is clearly
of thetownshipof Petershamin these
representative
characteristics
(Figs 3, 4 and 12). WorcesterCounty,
in general,was more agriculturally
orientatedthan
westernparts of the state, and thus the rate and
rage
extentof forestclearingin Petershamare greater
than state averages. However, temporal shiftsin
land use followedthesame generalmode throughout
upland areas: land clearance and gradual depletion
of thetimberresourcewas followedby low-intensity
agriculture,commercial agricultureand industry,
and subsequently by population migration and
farmabandonment(Bidwell 1916; Garrison 1985;
Williams1989). In the modernperiod,utilizationof
the land fornaturalresourcesis at a historicallow,
but pressurefor housingand commercialdevelopmentis leadingto a minorsecond wave of clearance,
and a concernforforestpreservation(Anonymous
1940; Black & Wescott 1959; Bickford& Dyman
1990). In thispattern,Petershamparallelsthetrends
of manyupland townships(MacConnell 1975).
The land-usepatternthatemergeson examination
of the Prospect Hill tract is exceedinglycomplex
and variable in scale and intensityover time. Each
of the individualparcels comprisingthe tractwas
ownedbyan averageof 13 individualsin the160-year
period. These owners differedin the size of their
holdings,durationofownership,and undoubtedlyin
theireconomicand social perspective(e.g. Garrison
1985). Althoughthe details vary,each foreststand
was cut repeatedly,mostwere cleared, and all were
subjected to varying agriculturaluse, including
grazing (Graves & Fisher 1903; Barraclough &
Gould 1955).
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769
D.R. Foster
of the geographicpatternof
In the determination
land use there were strong interactionsbetween
environment,spatial relationships and land-use
quality. Each land-use activitytriggeredvarious
vegetationalchangesthataffectedsubsequentlanduse was
use decisionsup to thepresent.Agricultural
stronglycontrolledby site conditions(undoubtedly
includingthe original vegetation; cf. Lord 1973)
and distancefromthe road or farm.Sites adjacent
to farmsand roads were cleared first,used most
intensivelyand abandoned last (Figs 2c and 10).
Soil moisturestronglycontrolleduse, withwet sites
used as woodlots, mesic sites tilled for cultivation
and extremelydryor moistsitespastured(Table 2).
WithinPetershama similaroverall patternof use
based on distance and soil conditionsappears to
hold (Fig. 4) (Raup & Carlson 1941).
The quality and timingof land-use determined
the subsequent vegetation,which in turn affects
later human activityand the impactof naturaldisturbance processes. For example, the extensive
loggingenterprisein the late 1800s and early 1900s
was controlledby the timingand placementof field
abandonmentin the mid 1800s. Similarly,decisions
concerningthe placement of conifer plantations
were determinedby the distribution
of open fields
or early successional vegetation(formerfields) in
theperiod 1910-40. In termsof naturalprocesses,it
is clear that the effectof the 1938 hurricanewas
controlledby the structure,compositionand spatial
distribution
of the vegetationthatresultedfrom200
yearsof humanactivity(Foster & Boose 1992). The
Pinus strobusand plantationson formerfieldswere
particularlysusceptible to wind damage and are
largelyresponsibleforthegreatextentof damage to
the landscape of centralNew England (Rowlands
1941).
VEGETATION
RESPONSE
TO
LAND
USE
Evaluation of the effectof cumulativeland use on
the vegetationis stronglyscale-dependent.Across
the region (i.e. Worcester County) the effectis
subtle and suggeststhat the vegetationis resilient
to disturbance(Raup 1966). Species assemblages
sorted out in the 1700s along climatic gradients
definedby latitude and altitude much as they do
today (Westveld 1956). However, shifts in the
a general
abundanceofspeciesare notable,primarily
increase in successionaland sproutingspecies (e.g.
Betulapopulifolia,Acer rubrum,Quercusspp.) and
declinein long-livedtolerantspecies (Fagus, Tsuga,
Acer saccharum) (Cook 1917; Dickson & McAfee
1988). Pathogenshave also reduced the abundance
of Castanea, Fagus and Ulmus (Gravatt & Parker
1949; Hirt 1956; Karnosky1979; Paillet 1982).
At a local scale withina forestthe effectsof land
use are compelling(Foster & Zebryk 1993). The
pattern of vegetation is clearly abrupt and dis-
continuousin compositionand structure;gradients
are steep. Structurallythe forestsare young and
even-aged. In additionto structuralcharacteristics,
major compositionaltrendscan be tied to land use.
Picea rubensand Tsuga are largelyconfinedto the
areas of permanentwoodlot(Fig. 13; cf.Smith1950;
Kelty 1984), and a few tree and shrubspecies (e.g.
Viburnumalnifolium,Kalmia latifolia,Hamamelis
virginiana, llex verticillata,Fraxinus nigra, Nyssa
sylvatica)are associated withthese primaryforests
(Fig. 14). In contrast,pastureareas are dominated
by Pinus strobus,Pinus strobus-Tsuga canadensis,
Castaneaand poor hardwoodforestsof Betulapopulifoliaand Acer rubrum(Figs 13 and 14).
compositional
Duringthe periodof reforestation,
changesin thevegetationhave accompaniedchanges
in the totalcover, and increasesin mean heightand
age. Until the 1938 hurricane,hardwoodsdeclined
as a result of increases in Tsuga from advanced
regeneration,conversionof successionalhardwood
foreststo Pinus strobus,and silviculturalmanagement of mixed stands to increase Pinus strobus
and Tsuga. Followingthe hurricane,whichgreatly
damaged plantations and Pinus strobus stands,
and subsequent salvage logging, hardwood cover
increased greatly.Hardwoods continuedto establish in manyopen areas as active managementfor
conifersceased. One major trendacross thisperiod
is the increasein Tsuga as a major cover type;20%
of the Tsuga forestderives from succession and
advance regenerationin hardwood stands, 35%
from hurricane-damagedhardwoods and 41%
fromhurricane-damagedPinus strobus and Pinus
strobus-Tsuga canadensisforest.
One major questionnot addressedby the current
study but warrantingadditional investigationis
the longevityof these land-use impacts in terms
of forest communitycomposition and structure.
Analysis of the 1937 vegetation defines striking
relationshipsbetween composition and historical
variables, including primary/secondaryforest,
age, and timingof abandonment,and site factors
(cf. Whitney& Foster1988). Analysisof themodern
55 yearslaterwillenable
vegetation,approximately
us to see if additionaltime forforestdevelopment
and species dispersal and the impact of the 1938
hurricanehave reducedthe imprintof the historyof
land-useon vegetationpatterns.
Conclusion
The continuallydynamicnature of the vegetation
patternin centralNew England is one of the most
landscape.
remarkableaspectsofthepost-settlement
occurredin the regional
A completetransformation
and local landscape from1770 to the presentas the
farmedand subsequently
was deforested,
countryside
reforested.Withina landscape such as that of the
Harvard Forest, thishistoryof use was dependent
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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
770
Land use and
vegetationhistory
in New England
on originalsite factorsand has greatlyaffectedsubsequentvegetationcharacteristics.
These effectsare
long-lastingas they continue to control the way
in which humans use sites and the ways in which
naturalprocesses affectthem. The ramifications
of
this historyin terms of contemporaryecological
processesare too greatto be dismissedby modernday ecologists.
Acknowledgments
Ernest M. Gould, Jrand Hugh M. Raup provided
valuable insightinto the land-usehistoryof central
New England and the HarvardForest. G. Whitney
on historicalsources
offeredinnumerable
suggestions
and references.A. Lezberg assistedwithfieldwork
and GIS analysis, and G. Carlton, M. Fluet, F.
Gerhardt,S. Hamburg,C. Mabry,G. Motzkin,W.
Niering,R. Peet, G. Peterkenand P. Schoonmaker
offeredconstructivecommentson the manuscript,
typedby D. Smith.This studyis part of the Long
Term Ecological Research Programat the Harvard
Forest and was supported by the U.S. National
Science Foundationand A.W. Mellon Foundation.
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