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  1. Major efforts are underway to harness the carbon sequestration capacity of forests to combat global climate change. However, tree damage and death associated with insect and disease disturbance can reduce this carbon sequestration capacity. We quantified average annual changes in live tree carbon accumulation associated with insect and disease disturbances utilizing the most recent (2001 – 2019) remeasurement data from National Forest Inventory plots in the contiguous United States. Forest plots recently impacted by insect disturbance sequestered on average 69% less carbon in live trees than plots with no recent disturbance, and plots recently impacted by disease disturbance sequestered on average 28% less carbon in live trees than plots with no recent disturbance. Nationally, we estimate that carbon sequestration by live trees, defined as the estimated average annual rate of above- and belowground carbon accumulation in live trees (diameter at breast height ≥ 2.54 cm) on forest land, has been reduced by 9.33 teragrams carbon per year (95% confidence interval: 7.11 to 11.58) in forests that have experienced recent insect disturbance and 3.49 teragrams carbon per year (95% confidence interval: 1.30 to 5.70) in forests that have experienced recent disease disturbance, for a total reduction of 12.83 teragrams carbon permore »year (95% confidence interval: 8.41 to 17.28). Strengthened international trade policies and phytosanitary standards as well as improved forest management have the potential to protect forests and their natural capacity to contribute to climate change mitigation.« less
  2. Abstract
    The valley-wide plots are a grid of 431 sites along fifteen N–S transects established at 500-m intervals spanning the entire Hubbard Brook Valley. This dataset includes total soil carbon, nitrogen and organic matter content, potential net nitrogen mineralization and nitrification rates, microbial respiration rates, soil water content and holding capacity, soil ammonium and nitrate concentrations, soil pH, and tree composition in a subset of 100 randomly selected plots in 2000. 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. An analysis of these data can be found in: Venterea, R. T., Lovett, G. M., Groffman, P. M., & Schwarz, P. A. (2003). Landscape patterns of net nitrification in a northern hardwood-conifer forest. Soil Science Soc. Amer. J., 67, 527–539.
  3. Conceptual models of nutrient retention in ecosystems suggest that mature forests receiving chronically elevated atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition should experience increased nitrate (NO3-) losses to streams. However, at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (New Hampshire, USA), recent stream NO3- concentrations have been unexpectedly low in mature watersheds. Poorly understood retention of NO3 matter (SOM) may explain this discrepancy. The relative availability of C and N in SOM influences NO3--N retention and may vary during succession due to processes of N mining and reaccumulation. To evaluate the strength of the SOM sink for NO3--N, we applied a 15NO3- tracer to the mineral soil in eight stands spanning a forest chronosequence from about 20 years to old growth ( 200 years). We tracked 15N recovery in SOM fractions in the upper 10 cm of B horizon over 5 weeks. Overall, forest age did not directly control the 5-week recovery of 15N, but it had an indirect effect via its influence on SOM properties such as C/N. Old-growth forest soils had the lowest C/N, implying closer proximity to effective N saturation. Across sites, both the particulate- and mineral-associated SOM fractions rapidly incorporated 15N, but recovery in each fraction generally declined with time, reflectingmore »the dynamic nature of SOM. These results indicate that mineral horizons can provide an important N sink through the short term in forests of all ages, but that SOM-N remains subject to active cycling and potential loss from the soil pool over the longer term.« less