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Bartlett Experimental Forest

North American Carbon Program (NACP)

Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA)

  • Carbon cycling in forests represents a key point of interaction between terrestrial ecosystems and the earth’s climate. As a result, efforts to quantify and enhance forest carbon sequestration have become important goals of U.S. Forest Service and the University of New Hampshire. Although the basic principles of how forests cycle and store carbon are reasonably well understood, there are large uncertainties surrounding underlying environmental drivers and efforts to extend estimates through space and time have been hampered by persistent methodological challenges.
    • Objectives: (1) improve landscape-scale assessment of the effects of climate variability, and natural and management disturbances, on ecosystem demographics and carbon stocks and fluxes, (2) develop a monitoring approach and establish permanent monitoring locations at Experimental Forests for early detection of impacts of climate change on ecosystem processes and function.
    • Specific Studies: (1) Determine changes in key forest carbon pools over time, (2) Monitor changes of forest health, (3) Monitor climate to establish relationships between changes in forest C and climate change, (4) Measure water isotopes to determine how climate influences plant water use efficiency. Contact: Michelle Day & Andy Ouimette

College of Life Sciences and Agriculture

Agricultural Experiment Station

Interactions between Climate Change, Carbon Cycling and Land Use in a Mixed Agricultural, Residential and Forested Landscape

  • Because natural and managed ecosystems are vital to the region's economic and cultural well-being, understanding the long-term effects of climate change is paramount. However, ecosystems also play an important role in climate regulation. Their influence occurs both as regulators of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, as well as through their effect on surface albedo and other biophysical properties (Bonan 2009). Although climate change policy initiatives often include incentives for land management activities that can offset warming, most have focused on enhanced storage of carbon. This can be achieved through, for example, no-till agricultural practices or forest management practices that maximize standing biomass. Often not considered is the fact that these practices also bear climate consequences through other mechanisms (N2O and methane (CH4) emissions, altered albedo, etc.).

    • Here, we plan to address these issues by conducting a focused study of how agriculture and other land uses in a human-dominated landscape influence climate through a combination of carbon storage, greenhouse gas emissions (N2O and CH4) and alterations to shortwave albedo and land surface heating. Results of this activity will highlight tradeoffs among multiple land management strategies in terms of their net climate effect. Information of this nature is of critical importance for preparing sound land management policies and designing strategies to cope with changes in climate. Contact: Alix Contosta

Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

  • The overarching NH EPSCoR project objective is to better understand complex interactions among climate, land use, ecosystem function and society. The proposed work brings together disciplines of earth, atmospheric, environmental and ecological sciences, ecological economics, sociology, demography and engineering in a coordinated effort that will build human, social and infrastructural capital for competitive research.
    • The Terrestrial Ecosystem Services is led by Scott Ollinger (UNH) & Mary Martin (UNH). This theme addresses how climate variability currently affects forest ecosystems; how climate change will affect forest ecosystems in the future; how forest ecosystems and, more broadly, terrestrial habitat affect climate; tradeoffs among multiple ecosystem services associated with varied forest ecosystem management; and human/ecosystem interactions. Contact:Liz Burakowski

Hubbard Brook LTER

  • The overall goal of the HBR-LTER program is to improve understanding of the response of Northern Forest ecosystems to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Contact: Mary Martin

Harvard Forest LTER - Chronic Nitrogen Amendment Study

NASA Carbon

  • In the study of terrestrial carbon cycling, developing methods by which leaf, plant and stand level processes can be related to landscapes, regions and continents represents an important challenge and is a core component of the North American Carbon Program. The ability to seamlessly transfer information across a continuum of spatial scales from field studies to Earth observing satellites would greatly improve our understanding of how vegetation, the carbon cycle and the Earth's climate interact and change over time in response to human activities and natural forcings.
    • Here, we plan to expand the integration of hyperspectral remote sensing and AmeriFlux research activities conducted under a previous NASA Carbon Cycle Science grant to a broader range of ecosystems (focusing largely on northern latitude systems) and to address linkages between canopy %N and a wider suite of physiological model parameters related to carbon assimilation. Results thus far indicate a significant positive correlation between canopy %N and canopy Amax (the maximum rate of net photosynthesis) in U.S. forest ecosystems. Contact: Scott Ollinger

NASA Terrestrial Ecosystems

  • The structure and function of forests have been dramatically altered by the intensification of disturbance and chronic stressors such as nitrogen deposition. Given the importance of forests in the climate system, understanding their response will improve the ability of models to predict future changes in climate and identify potential feedbacks.

    • In a recent finding, we showed that variation in canopy nitrogen over temperate and boreal forests is strongly and positively correlated with shortwave surface albedo and that both variables are related to whole-canopy photosynthetic capacity. This result raises new questions about whether disturbances that influence the nitrogen cycle have a more complex influence on climate than has previously been considered-through alteration of surface energy exchange as well as carbon assimilation. We propose to investigate these issues by conducting a synthesis of data from previous NASA investigations, augmented with a limited number of new measurements and data from complimentary studies. Contact: Lucie Lepine

NSF Macrosystems Biology: canopy diversity and ecosystems function

  • This project addresses questions related to (1) the influence of tree diversity on carbon cycling and other ecosystem processes in forests, and (2) ways in which forest canopy diversity can be represented (e.g. taxonomic, structural or functional diversity), and estimated at multiple scales using remote sensing. read more

  • More information coming soon...