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Methods of Ecosystem Analysis ( F&ES 519 b) taught us a great deal about the complexities of quantifying and analyzing dynamic ecosystems. We learned how to gather and utilize field data on the Allometry, Phytosociology, Chemistry, Biomass and Tree Rings of a forested ecosystem. We also learned about the processes of this ecosystem including the Carbon cycle and the Nitrogen cycle as they relate to ecosystem measurement. The importance of understanding inputs and outputs in an ecosystem are critical for accurate ecosystem measurement. The methods we used to study these topics represent only a fraction of the diverse amount of the quantitative methods that can be employed to gather, analyze, and understand field data. We discovered the optimum method is usually contingent upon the dominant processes within the ecosystem as well as the limitations and constraints imposed on those conducting the analysis.

Prof. Tom Siccama

The importance of quality assurance and quality control in any method of ecosystem analysis was apparent throughout our study. Indeed, one of the most valuable lessons we learned was the difficulty for controlling the

Prof. Daniel Vogt

myriad variables that are present in any attempt at ecosystem analysis. This includes the challenges of accurate data collection in the field and the laboratory. We also analyzed the class of 1991 Saltonstall field data to discover evolving processes and trends in this ecosystem. This comparison was also helpful to find discrepancies in the data to learn more about quality control and assurance. We hope another Methods of Ecosystem Analysis class has the opportunity in 8 years to compare their data with the 1999 and 1991 classes.

The students of F&ES 519b, Winter 1999, would like to thank Tom Siccama and Daniel Vogt for their patience, wisdom, and guidance throughout the semester. In addition, we would also like to thank the Southern Connecticut Regional Water Authority for their generosity in allowing us access to the Saltonstall ridge area.


The Long Winding Road...


Methods of Ecosystem Analysis | Site | Tree Rings | Phytosociology | Allometry | Chemistry | Biomass | Summary

Methods of Ecosystem Analysis
Date Last Modified: 4/12/99
F&ES 579B, Spring 1999