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Site-specific, long-term research expanding understanding of climate change
Date:12/5/2012

DURHAM, N.H., Dec. 5, 2012 While science has often focused on big-scale, global climate change research, a study recently published in the journal Bioscience suggests that long-term, integrated and site-specific research is needed to understand how climate change affects multiple components of ecosystem structure and function, sometimes in surprising ways.

"Long-term ecological research is important to understanding the effects of a changing climate on our natural resources and so much more," said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station. "With a network of more than 80 experimental forests and decades of monitoring data from these forests, the Forest Service is contributing invaluable information to this and a wide-range of critical research topics."

Research at the Forest Service's Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire's White Mountains forms the basis for the article "Long-Term Integrated Studies Show Complex and Surprising Effects of Climate Change in the Northern Hardwood Forest," by Peter Groffman of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies with Forest Service scientists Lindsey Rustad and John Campbell and others. The paper describes how the interplay of climate, forest ecosystem dynamics, and past land use determines how an individual forest might respond to climate change. The paper is available online at: http://nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/42303

At the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, that interplay has produced surprising effects on hydrologic variables such as evapotranspiration, streamflow, and soil moisture and revealed the importance of changes in phenology on water, carbon, and nitrogen fluxes during seasonal transition periods. Scientists have also found surprises in winter climate change effects on plant and animal community composition and ecosystem services as well as the effects of anthropogenic disturbances and land-us
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Contact: Jane Hodgins
jmhodgins@fs.fed.us
651-649-5281
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

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