2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 210-52
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


HAAS, Brett1, HOFMEISTER, Andrew1, BECKER, Mona L.2 and SCULLION, Jason3, (1)McDaniel College, Environmental Studies Department, 2 College Hill, Westminster, MD 21157, (2)Environmental Studies, McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster, MD 21157, (3)Environmental Studies Department, McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster, MD 21157, bwh003@connections.mcdaniel.edu

Healthy forest ecosystems are crucial in areas like species diversity, carbon storage and buffering damaging effects from extreme weather. The layers of canopy and shrub coverage helps solidify the surrounding soils as well as create food and shelter for dozens of species of animals and organisms. At the Singleton-Matthews Farm located in Westminster, MD, there are several forest plots in different stages of development. The purpose of this study was to collect, organize and compare data between the plots in order to develop the necessary steps leading to a healthier forest that will last for hundreds of years. Three forested areas were identified on the farm property. Using sub-plotting methods described by we estimated shrub coverage for each plot and took DBH measurements of a total 475 trees to determine the biomass of each area of land. Biomass was determined by using both the DBH measurements and shrub coverage percentage. While shrub coverage is important for sustaining a healthy forest, shrubs provide minimal amounts of biomass in comparison to the large tree populations.

There were distinct differences in biomass between the three plots, which can be directly correlated to how much carbon a forest can store. The first two plots, which were located on a valley floor divided by a small stream, yielded a biomass of just over 1,000,000kg in each section. The third plot, located on a slope with a more highly developed forest, based on visual analysis, yielded a biomass of just under 3,000,000kg. This jump in calculated biomass provides evidence on how crucial an older, developed and healthier forest is for carbon storage.