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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2017

  • Title: Future ecological research regarding disturbance in temperate, mesic forests: value added through dendroecology
  • Primary Author: Neil Pederson (Harvard Forest)
  • Additional Authors: Dario Martin Benito (Columbia University in the City of New York)
  • Abstract:

    Neil Pederson, Harvard Forest, Harvard University, 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA,

    Amanda Young, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA,

    Amanda B. Stan, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ,

    Uyanga Ariya, National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,

    Dario Martin-Benito, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria, Madrid, Spain,

    A review of disturbance ecology in temperate, mesic forests of North America, Europe, and Asia indicate that perhaps our theoretical understanding of long-term dynamics are likely limited by the scales of prior research. New dendroecological research in these forests, including some by the NSF-supported PalEON Project, a Paleo-Ecological Observatory Network for the northern US, in fact, reveals some conundrums regarding their large-scale, long-term dynamics. Gaining insight to their potential dynamics at large-scales is crucial because these species-rich, highly productive forests are important drivers of regional water and carbon cycles for approximately one billion people. We find that the few large-scale dendroecological networks in temperate, mesic forests, however, suggest that large, infrequent disturbances (LIDs), those at regional scales or larger, are also important drivers of forest development. We hypothesize that the dynamic equilibrium concept in these forests could be challenged by findings derived from broad-scale networks containing centuries of forest dynamics at high temporal resolution. Our review also leads us to assert that the successional trajectories in temperate, mesic forests are likely more diverse than what is commonly considered. Constraining the potential number of trajectories likely constrains ecological theory and forest management. To expand these perceptions, we present a conceptual model to aid comprehension of the potential n-dimensional developmental trajectories in diverse temperate, mesic forests. New directions in ecological research are possible through the construction of large-scale tree-ring networks in these forests. Advances in dendroecological research will help to address urgent questions on macroecological dynamics of temperate, mesic forests as climate change intensifies over the next century.

  • Research Category: Regional Studies, International Research Projects, Historical and Retrospective Studies, Conservation and Management

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