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  1. Abstract Tree-ring time series provide long-term, annually resolved information on the growth of trees. When sampled in a systematic context, tree-ring data can be scaled to estimate the forest carbon capture and storage of landscapes, biomes, and—ultimately—the globe. A systematic effort to sample tree rings in national forest inventories would yield unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution of forest carbon dynamics and help resolve key scientific uncertainties, which we highlight in terms of evidence for forest greening (enhanced growth) versus browning (reduced growth, increased mortality). We describe jump-starting a tree-ring collection across the continent of North America, given the commitments of Canada, the United States, and Mexico to visit forest inventory plots, along with existing legacy collections. Failing to do so would be a missed opportunity to help chart an evidence-based path toward meeting national commitments to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, urgently needed for climate stabilization and repair.
  2. Aherne, Julian (Ed.)
  3. Intermediate disturbances are an important component of many forest disturbance regimes, with effects on canopy structure and related functions that are highly dependent on the nature and intensity of the perturbation. Ice storms are an important disturbance mechanism in temperate forests that often result in moderate-severity, diffuse canopy damage. However, it has not previously been possible to distinguish the specific effect of ice storm intensity (as ice accretion) from predisturbance stand characteristics and physiographic factors. In this study, we utilized a novel experimental ice storm treatment to evaluate the effects of variable ice accretion levels on forest canopy structure. Our results verified significant impacts of ice storm disturbance on near-term canopy structural reorganization. Canopy openness, light transmission, and complexity increased significantly relative to predisturbance baselines and undisturbed controls. We documented variable impacts with disturbance intensity, as significant canopy changes largely occurred with ice accretion levels of ≥12.7 mm. Repeated ice storm disturbance (two consecutive years) had marginal, rather than compounding, effects on forest canopy structure. Our findings are relevant to understanding how ice storms can affect near-term forest canopy structural reorganization and ecosystem processes and add to a growing base of knowledge on the effects of intermediate disturbances on canopymore »structure.« less
  4. Ice storms are important but understudied disturbances that influence forest structure and function. In 1998, an ice storm damaged forest canopies and led to increased hydrologic losses of nitrogen (N) from the northern hardwood forest at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in New Hampshire, USA. To evaluate the mechanisms underlying this response, we experimentally simulated ice storms with different frequencies and severities at the small plot scale. We took measurements of plant and soil variables before (2015) and after (2016, 2017) treatments using the same methods used in 1998 with a focus on hydrologic and gaseous losses of reactive N, as well as rates of soil N cycle processes. Nitrogen cycle responses to the treatments were insignificant and less marked than the responses to the 1998 natural ice storm. Pools and leaching of inorganic N, net and gross mineralization and nitrification and denitrification rates, and soil to atmosphere fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O) were unaffected by the treatments, in contrast to the 1998 storm which caused marked increases in leaching and watershed export of inorganic N. The difference in response may be a manifestation of N oligotrophication that has occurred at the HBEFmore »over the past 30 years. Results suggest that ecosystem response to disturbances, such as ice storms, is changing due to aspects of global environmental change, challenging our ability to understand and predict the effects of these events on ecosystem structure, function, and services.« less