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Forest Soils

An integral part of rare’s Ecological Monitoring program

A tongue depressor, known to researchers as a ‘soil decay stick’ holds a wealth of valuable information about forest soil health. Photo courtesy of J. Quinn

Monitoring annual soil humus decay rates (ADR) can provide valuable information about the productivity and turnover of biomass on the forest floor. These plots were established in 2009 and 2010 in three of the forest health monitoring plots (one in each location). Three ADR plots were established in each corner of the forest health plot. Four birch tongue depressors were placed in each plot for an overall total of 48. Tongue depressors are collected each fall and dried and weighed. New depressors are inserted in their place. The reduction in the weight of the tongue depressors will allow us to calculate decay rates.

Click on any of the following to learn more about other rare ecological monitoring programs:

Benthic Invertebrates



Forest Health



For more information on ecological monitoring at rare, please contact our Research Department at (519) 650-9336 x 111