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Creators/Authors contains: "Thompson, Jonathan R."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  3. Abstract Substantial funding is being allocated to new land protection and access to protected open space for marginalized communities is a crucial concern. Using New England as a study area, we show striking disparities in the distribution of protected open space across multiple dimensions of social marginalization. Using a quartile-based approach within states, we find that communities in the lowest income quartile have just 52% as much nearby protected land as those in the most affluent quartile. Similarly, communities with the highest proportions of people of color have just 47% as much protected land as those in the lowest quartile. These disparities persist across both public and private protected land, within urban, exurban and rural communities, for different sized buffers around communities, and across time. To help address these disparities in future conservation plans, we develop a screening tool to identify and map communities with high social marginalization and low nearby protected open space within each state. We then show that areas prioritized according to these environmental justice (EJ) criteria are substantially different from areas prioritized according to conventional conservation criteria. This demonstrates how incorporating EJ criteria in conservation prioritization processes could shift patterns of future land protection. Our workmore »provides methods that can be used broadly across regions to inform conservation efforts.« less
  4. Abstract Forest and freshwater ecosystems are tightly linked and together provide important ecosystem services, but climate change is affecting their species composition, structure, and function. Research at nine US Long Term Ecological Research sites reveals complex interactions and cascading effects of climate change, some of which feed back into the climate system. Air temperature has increased at all sites, and those in the Northeast have become wetter, whereas sites in the Northwest and Alaska have become slightly drier. These changes have altered streamflow and affected ecosystem processes, including primary production, carbon storage, water and nutrient cycling, and community dynamics. At some sites, the direct effects of climate change are the dominant driver altering ecosystems, whereas at other sites indirect effects or disturbances and stressors unrelated to climate change are more important. Long-term studies are critical for understanding the impacts of climate change on forest and freshwater ecosystems.
  5. Abstract

    Fragmentation transforms the environment along forest edges. The prevailing narrative, driven by research in tropical systems, suggests that edge environments increase tree mortality and structural degradation resulting in net decreases in ecosystem productivity. We show that, in contrast to tropical systems, temperate forest edges exhibit increased forest growth and biomass with no change in total mortality relative to the forest interior. We analyze >48,000 forest inventory plots across the north-eastern US using a quasi-experimental matching design. At forest edges adjacent to anthropogenic land covers, we report increases of 36.3% and 24.1% in forest growth and biomass, respectively. Inclusion of edge impacts increases estimates of forest productivity by up to 23% in agriculture-dominated areas, 15% in the metropolitan coast, and +2% in the least-fragmented regions. We also quantify forest fragmentation globally, at 30-m resolution, showing that temperate forests contain 52% more edge forest area than tropical forests. Our analyses upend the conventional wisdom of forest edges as less productive than intact forest and call for a reassessment of the conservation value of forest fragments.