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Franklin State Forest Summer Research



Sarah and I wrap up our work at Franklin State Forest next week. The Sewanee and TSU crew had a party at my house.

Davis Mounger at TN Heartwood came out to the site and made a set of videos (below). Here is the intro to those videos:


Cross Creek Forest Dynamics Study is a long-term, ecological investigation examining the composition, structure and functioning of an upland forest community on the Cumberland Plateau in southeastern Tennessee. The study site is located in the Cross Creek Watershed within Franklin State Forest. At the core of the study is a set of five, one-hectare forest plots established in the watershed in the mid-1970s by Dr. George Ramseur with the Department of Biology at the University of the South (Sewanee) as part of a larger ecosystem project initiated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Dr Jon Evans at Sewanee inherited the study in 1994 and he and his students have returned every 10 years to reinventory the plots. Most recently, Evans and Dr. Sarah Neumann (Professor of forest ecology at Tennessee State University) received a research grant from the US Department of Agriculture to examine the role of plant-soil interactions as a driver of tree spatial distribution within the plots. Neumann started working with Evans on this project when she was a student at Sewanee more than 20 years ago. Now this project is serving as the basis for the PhD research of one of Neumann's graduate students, Izzy Schutte. Schutte was the field crew leader this summer for a large team of students from both TSU and Sewanee who have been re-censusing the plots using digital mapping on iPads. The Cross Creek Forest Dynamics is the longest running, large-scale forest dynamics study of its kind on the Cumberland Plateau. Its valuable scientific legacy has been maintained now by four generations of researchers. Results from this study have informed our understanding of the importance of old-growth upland forests to the maintenance of biological diversity on the Plateau and the critical role they now play in combating climate change by sequestering and storing large amounts of carbon.


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