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  1. This data set encompasses leaf area and dry weights for collected freshly shot leaves (early August) and fallen leaves (entire leaf fall period) along the elevation gradient of 14 sites used for the nitrogen oligotrophication study at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. This data will be used to calculate nutrient resorption along the elevation gradient for sugar maple (collection years: 2020-2022) and American beech (2021-2022). These data were gathered as part of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES). The HBES is a collaborative effort at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, which is operated and maintained by the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 
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  2. Functional balance theory predicts that plants will allocate less carbon belowground when the availability of nutrients is elevated. We tested this prediction in two successional northern hardwood forest stands by quantifying fine root biomass and growth after 5–7 years of treatment in a nitrogen (N) x phosphorus (P) factorial addition experiment. We quantified root responses at two different levels of treatment: the whole-plot scale fertilization and small-patch scale fertilization of ingrowth cores. Fine root biomass was higher in plots receiving P, and fine root growth was highest in plots receiving both N and P. Thus, belowground productivity did not decrease in response to long-term addition of nutrients. We did not find conclusive evidence that elevated availability of one nutrient at the plot scale induced foraging for the other nutrient at the core scale, or that foraging for nutrients at the core scale responded to addition of limiting nutrients. Our observations suggest NP co-limitation of fine root growth and indicate complex interactions of N and P affecting aboveground and belowground production in early successional northern hardwood forest ecosystems. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  3. Soper, Fiona (Ed.)
    Nitrogen (N) is a critical element in many ecological and biogeochemical processes in forest ecosystems. Cycling of N is sensitive to changes in climate, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, and air pollution. Streamwater nitrate draining a forested ecosystem can indicate how an ecosystem is responding to these changes. We observed a pulse in streamwater nitrate concentration and export at a long-term forest research site in eastern North America that resulted in a 10-fold increase in nitrate export compared to observations over the prior decade. The pulse in streamwater nitrate occurred in a reference catchment in the 2013 water year, but was not associated with a distinct disturbance event. We analyzed a suite of environmental variables to explore possible causes. The correlation between each environmental variable and streamwater nitrate concentration was consistently higher when we accounted for the antecedent conditions of the variable prior to a given streamwater observation. In most cases, the optimal antecedent period exceeded two years. We assessed the most important variables for predicting streamwater nitrate concentration by training a machine learning model to predict streamwater nitrate concentration in the years preceding and during the streamwater nitrate pulse. The results of the correlation and machine learning analyses suggest that the pulsed increase in streamwater nitrate resulted from both (1) decreased plant uptake due to lower terrestrial gross primary production, possibly due to increased soil frost or reduced solar radiation or both; and (2) increased net N mineralization and nitrification due to warm temperatures from 2010 to 2013. Additionally, variables associated with hydrological transport of nitrate, such as maximum stream discharge, emerged as important, suggesting that hydrology played a role in the pulse. Overall, our analyses indicate that the streamwater nitrate pulse was caused by a combination of factors that occurred in the years prior to the pulse, not a single disturbance event. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  4. Coarse litterfall (woody litter greater than 2 cm diameter) was collected from cleared plots in the same sites as fine litterfall to quantify total aboveground litterfall in the reference forest. These collections are for quantifying CWD inputs from live standing trees rather than all CWD inputs. Tree mortality and fall rates are used for dead tree inputs. All together these data are used to calculate aboveground production and forest carbon and nutrient budgets. These data were gathered as part of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES). The HBES is a collaborative effort at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, which is operated and maintained by the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 
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  5. Fine litterfall (leaves, twigs, fruits, seeds, etc.) is collected in Watershed 1, Watershed 5, the Throughfall plots and the Bear Brook Watershed reference forest, located to the west of Watershed 6, to quantify carbon and nutrient flux associated with this important pathway. These measurements have facilitated quantification of ice storm effects and species declines (paper birch, sugar maple). These data were gathered as part of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES). The HBES is a collaborative effort at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, which is operated and maintained by the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 
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  6. The Multiple Element Limitation in Northern Hardwood Ecosystems (MELNHE) project studies N , P, and Ca acquisition and limitation of forest productivity through a series of nutrient manipulations in northern hardwood forests. This data set includes data testing effects of elevated N and P availability on fine root growth (using ingrowth cores) and biomass in the MELNHE project. Subsets of ingrowth cores were treated with nutrients differing from the plot-scale nutrient treatments to test fine root foraging. Additional detail on the MELNHE project, including a datatable of site descriptions and a pdf file with the project description and diagram of plot configuration can be found in this data package: https://portal.edirepository.org/nis/mapbrowse?scope=knb-lter-hbr&identifier=344 These data were gathered as part of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES). The HBES is a collaborative effort at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, which is operated and maintained by the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 
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  7. Upslope shifts in plant distributions are often attributed to warming climate and lengthening of the growing season; however, biotic interactions may also contribute. The impacts of pests and pathogens are often sensitive to climate change and can vary along the climatic gradient associated with elevation. American beech ( Fagus grandifolia) has moved upslope throughout the northeastern United States. Meanwhile, beech growth and longevity have decreased as a result of beech bark disease (BBD), a decline disease caused by the introduced European felted beech scale insect ( Cryptococcus fagisuga) and native fungi from the genus Neonectria. Within a forested landscape spanning 250–1150 m elevation, we examined the relationships between elevation, beech demography and BBD to explore whether release from BBD at higher elevation may contribute to the upslope expansion of beech. Beech has shifted upslope at a rate of 1 m⋅year −1 coincident with lower mortality, higher recruitment, faster growth, lower BBD severity, and higher sapling densities at higher elevations. We suggest that climatic constraints on the beech scale insect at high elevations has led to a lower impact of BBD, which contributed to higher rates of beech growth, survival, and recruitment and in turn facilitated the regional upslope shift of beech. 
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  8. Leaf area index (LAI) of the mature deciduous forest in the Bear Brook watershed (west of WS6) at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest is estimated on the basis of leaf litterfall collections; the raw data for litterfall are posted in the EDI data package – Fine Litterfall Data at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, 1992 – present (https://portal.edirepository.org/nis/mapbrowse?scope=knb-lter-hbr&identifier=49). Leaf litterfall collected in 0.097 m2 litter traps is sorted by species. The number of leaves of each species is counted. The counts are multiplied by the average area per leaf for each species in each plot to estimate LAI. Litter traps are located randomly within each of four plots that are arranged along the elevation gradient within the deciduous forest zone. These data were gathered as part of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES). The HBES is a collaborative effort at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, which is operated and maintained by the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 
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