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Harvard Forest Research Project 2022

  • Title: Long-term Dissolved Inorganic Nutrient Fluxes from Harvard Forest
  • Principal investigator: Robinson W. Fulweiler (rwf@bu.edu)
  • Institution: Boston University
  • Primary contact: Robinson W. Fulweiler (rwf@bu.edu)
  • Team members: David Orwig; Mark VanScoy
  • Abstract:

    For the past 8000 years hemlock has served as a foundation species throughout the northeast; its unique functional characteristics have dictated biogeochemical fluxes from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems (Ellison et al. 2005). It is now in what is likely an irreversible decline due to HWA and the consequences on riparian ecology are unknown but are likely profound (Adams et al. 2012). Red maple, black birch, and northern red oak are some of the most abundant trees in southern New England and are poised to replace hemlock across the landscape (Orwig et al. 2012). Decline and loss of hemlock, and its replacement with hardwood species containing different functional traits are expected to lead to changes in litterfall inputs, forest evapotranspiration, surface water hydrology, including seasonal streamflow/stormflow dynamics, stream temperature, decomposition, and nutrient release (Ellison et al. 2005; Ford and Vose 2007; Guswa and Spence 2011;Brantley et al. 2014). This anticipated shift to hardwoods has far reaching effects as it will significantly alter receiving water primary productivity and food web structure (Humborg et al. 2000, Garnier et al. 2010) by changing watershed N:P:Si export ratios and nutrient availability downstream (e.g., Currie et al. 1996, Fulweiler and Nixon 2005, Carey and Fulweiler 2013).