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Long-Term Integrated Studies Show Complex and Surprising Effects of Climate Change in the Northern Hardwood Forest

Groffman, Peter M., Rustad, Lindsey E., Templer, Pamela H., Campbell, John L., Christenson, Lynn M., Lany, Nina K., Socci, Anne M., Vadeboncoeur, Matthew A., Schaberg, Paul G., Wilson, Geoffrey F., Driscoll, Charles T., Fahey, Timothy J., Fisk, Melany C., Goodale, Christine L., Green, Mark B., Hamburg, Steven P., Johnson, Chris E., Mitchell, Myron J., Morse, Jennifer L., Pardo, Linda H., Rodenhouse, Nicholas L.
BioScience 2012 v.62 no.12 pp. 1056-1066
animal communities, anthropogenic activities, botanical composition, carbon, climate change, community structure, ecosystem services, ecosystems, environmental factors, evapotranspiration, hardwood forests, hydrologic factors, land use, nitrogen, phenology, soil water, stream flow, watersheds
Evaluations of the local effects of global change are often confounded by the interactions of natural and anthropogenic factors that overshadow the effects of climate changes on ecosystems. Long-term watershed and natural elevation gradient studies at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest and in the surrounding region show surprising results demonstrating the effects of climate change on hydrologic variables (e.g., evapotranspiration, streamflow, soil moisture); the importance of changes in phenology on water, carbon, and nitrogen fluxes during critical seasonal transition periods; winter climate change effects on plant and animal community composition and ecosystem services; and the effects of anthropogenic disturbances and land-use history on plant community composition. These studies highlight the value of long-term integrated research for assessments of the subtle effects of changing climate on complex ecosystems.