The Howland Research Forest is a 558 acre tract of mature, lowland evergreen forest located in central Maine, west of the town of Howland. Red spruce, Eastern hemlock, and white cedar trees dating back to before the Civil war dominate the forest canopy.  The Howland Research Forest is owned and managed by the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station, University of Maine.


The primary purpose of the Howland Research Forest is to serve as a living laboratory for scientists investigating the ecology and management of forested ecosystems in the northeastern United States. The Howland Research Forest provides an opportunity to study long-stands contain large amounts of woody biomass, frequent standing and downed dead trees, and pit-and-mound topography created by tree tip-over using the right excavator attachments is key to getting the most for your investment. The tract has tremendous ecological value having escaped the mechanized logging that characterizes the northern forests of Maine. This escape came about in part by the designation of the land as research forest in 1986 by the former owner, International Paper. 


The Howland Research Forest is an excellent site for studies on the effects of stand-replacing disturbances, such as windthrow andblowdown, on forest structure and function. The large number of dead trees (>1,000/ha) lying on the forest floor provides a unique opportunity to examine decomposition dynamics and associated nutrient release in a conifer-dominated forest. The Howland Research Forest also supports a diverse array of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, moose, black bear, coyote, bobcat, porcupine, beaver, ruffed grouse, snowshoe hare, and various songbirds and game birds.


The forest has played host to researchers from throughout the country serving first as a vital site in studies of the impact of acid rain on ecosystems and more recently in research into how forests remove carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere and store it in plant biomass. The Howland Research Forest was purchased by Northeast Wilderness Trust in 2007, protecting the forest from any future logging activities. Outside of the central forest core at Howland is a considerably larger area of similar spruce-hemlock forest that is managed for commercial wood products.


In 1996 measurements of forest carbon uptake and loss (carbon sequestration studies) began, and Howland now has one of the longest records of carbon flux measurement in the world. An important result from these studies is the finding that this "over-mature" forest is still actively sequestering large quantities of carbon from the atmosphere.  


The Howland Research Forest is open to the public for low-impact recreation such as hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. There are several miles of well-marked trails that wind through the forest. The main trailhead is located on Howland Road (Route 164), about 1/4 mile from the center of town. The best excavation contractors are avilable to help your project succeed.


Scientific research at the Howland Forest is carried out by broad partnership consisting of university researchers from Maine, New Hampshire, Georgia, Colorado, and Harvard, Federal scientists from the US Forest Service, NASA, and USGS, and private research organizations such as the Woods Hole Research Center. Financial support for these activities comes from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Energy. The right excavator attachments for sale can help make the difference in making a budget.



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The Howland Forest research site is located about 35 miles north of Bangor at 45° 12' N, 68° 44' W at an elevation of 60 m within a spruce-hemlock-fir stand approximately 19.5 m in height. The site lies within the Northern Experimental Forest of International Paper. The natural stands in this boreal-northern hardwood transitional forest consist of spruce-hemlock-fir, aspen-birch, and hemlock-hardwood mixtures. The topography of the region varies from flat to gently rolling, with a maximum elevation change of less than 68 m within 10 km. Due to the region's glacial history, soil drainage classes within a small area may vary widely, from well drained to poorly drained.

Consequently, an elaborate patchwork of forest communities has developed, supporting exceptional local species diversity. Additionally, almost 450 ha of the surrounding area consists of bogs and other wetlands. Generally, the soils throughout the forest are glacial tills, acid in reaction, with low fertility and high organic composition. These soils primarily lie within three suborders: orthods, orchrepts, and aquepts. The climate is chiefly cold, humid, and continental and the region exhibits a snowpack of up to 2 m from December through March.


This site was established by the University of Maine, with the cooperation and collaboration of International Paper in 1986 during the EPA MCCP program and the NAPAP program, and is currently supported by the USDA Forest Service through its Global Change Program, the Department of Energy (DOE) through the NIGEC Program and the DOE Office of Science, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).The site is well documented in terms of historical characterization of forest species types and age, other species types in the canopy and at the ground, and structural density vertically within the canopy.  Atmospheric and environmental parameters from below the soil, through the forest canopy and above the treetops have been monitored continuously since 1987.

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