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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2017

  • Title: Investigating historical disturbances, vegetation dynamics, and functional changes of forest ecosystems on New England landscapes
  • Primary Author: Yude Pan (USDA Forest Service)
  • Additional Authors: David Orwig (Harvard Forest); Neil Pederson (Harvard Forest)
  • Abstract:

    The New England landscapes have changed dramatically since European settlement, having experienced intensive land-use alternations, various natural disturbances such as winter storms, hurricanes, insect infestations, as well as natural recoveries of forests. These disturbances have profound impacts on forest functional processes, vegetation dynamics and species composition. Changes in climate, atmospheric chemistry and disturbance regimes have complexed additionally the impacts to forest ecosystems in the region. To safeguard New England’s forests for future sustainability and highly-valuable ecosystem services, it is critical to understand their developmental history, transitions and interactions with novel environments so we can better estimate their vulnerability and resilience moving into the future. In this newly proposed study coherent with Harvard Forest LTER-VI perspectives, we expect to improve our understanding of different impacts of different types of disturbances on forest functional and structural dynamics. Moreover, for having many decades of environmental changes, we believe there should be clearer signals to be detected in long-term forest and tree-ring data. Particular attention will be given to some newly emerged phenomena in forest responses, which will provide important insights to the future projection. Using the data of LTER, Tree-Ring Network and FIA, we will re-parameterize the PnET-CN model and modify it to use historical land-disturbance data for spatial application. We will also link the model with a vegetation simulator, ForestESS, which will enable us to simultaneously explore changes in forest processes and vegetation dynamics over time.

  • Research Category: Regional Studies