In “The Conversation”: Climate change is already disrupting US forests and coasts

  Scientists have been consistently documenting environmental changes at research sites like this one in the Cascade Mountains for decades. US Forest Service Michael Paul Nelson, Oregon State University and Peter Mark Groffman, CUNY Graduate Center Record-breaking heat waves and drought have left West Coast rivers lethally hot for salmon, literally cooked millions of mussels… Read more »

Choose Your Poison: Plant Disease Outbreaks May Be Curbed by Periodic Wildfire

A controlled burn in Cedar Creek oakland

Wildfires have made headlines worldwide in recent years — and for good reason. Evidence points to increasing wildfire frequency and intensity across many vulnerable ecosystems as climate change impacts grow ever more evident. However, periodic wildfires in ecosystems adapted to them can actually help inhibit plant disease outbreaks, according to new research from Cedar Creek… Read more »

Fire Brings New Perspectives on Disturbance at H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest

View of the Holiday Fire burning through H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest

By Natasha Griffin, PhD candidate at Oregon State University The staff of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest LTER site had almost no time to prepare when a massive wildfire swept through the region in early September. Stoked by dry late-summer conditions and extreme high winds, Oregon’s Holiday Farm fire began spreading rapidly as soon as… Read more »

Seeing the forest for the shrubs in Southern Appalachia

Rhododendron shrubs leave no space left unfilled as its branches stretch over the forest floor and streams. Photo credit: Maura Dudley.

As ecosystems respond to human activity, what organisms will emerge as new trailblazers, shaping the diversity and resilience of these changing environments? And how can land managers identify these species early on to better prepare for the future? Forests of southern Appalachia have a history fraught with human activity. Hardy and towering, American chestnut and… Read more »

LTER Road Trip: Boreal Forest Research Legacies

Xanthe Walker organizes tree cores while sampling in the 1987 burn near Delta Junction, Alaska.

By Haley Dunleavy, PhD Candidate at Northern Arizona University Leaving my house, I feel like a runaway. I am packed inside an economy-sized rental car with my field clothes, camping gear, and of course, face masks, heading 300 miles north to meet my advisor Michelle Mack and fellow lab members for a couple days of… Read more »

Stop giving early and late Arctic seasons the ‘cold shoulder’, say LTER scientists

Streams LTER Research Assistant Frances Iannucci (a coauthor on the study) recording dissolved oxygen in a watershed associated with the Arctic LTER.

Climate change is hitting Arctic ecosystems hard – permafrost is rapidly thawing, releasing previously-frozen organic matter into the surrounding environment. Knowing not only how, but when, dissolved organic matter (DOM) and other nutrient concentrations are changing is important for predicting effects of climate change, but the picture is currently incomplete.  A new paper from Arctic… Read more »

Recent boreal wildfires are changing forest communities in Interior Alaska

Bonanza Creek LTER boreal forest after a fire

As boreal forest wildfires increase in severity and frequency, new patterns of post-fire recovery are emerging. Research led by Jill Johnstone at Bonanza Creek LTER has found that recent wildfires led to changes in tree species dominance that are persisting through post-fire succession in Alaskan boreal forests, indicating the potential for a widespread shift in… Read more »

The Ups and Downs of Coastal Marsh Elevation Modeling

VCR LTER Coastal Bay

The frequency of large coastal storms and hurricanes is on the rise, impacting the biological services that wetlands and marshes provide. Modeling makes it possible to predict how future storms may affect these ecosystems, but accurately modeling widespread impacts of large storms like Hurricane Sandy, which bombarded much of the U.S. eastern shoreline, requires significant… Read more »

Small Water Bodies with Big CO2 Effects

water-pocked landscape of coastal tundra

Credit: Via @ArcticLagoons on Twitter Arctic coastal watershed systems are some of the most threatened regions on Earth and have undergone substantial climatic, physical, and biological change with the warming of our Earth. Now, researchers at the Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER site have discovered that small coastal water bodies, especially ponds, are releasing carbon to… Read more »

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