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  1. Abstract

    Indirect climate effects on tree fecundity that come through variation in size and growth (climate-condition interactions) are not currently part of models used to predict future forests. Trends in species abundances predicted from meta-analyses and species distribution models will be misleading if they depend on the conditions of individuals. Here we find from a synthesis of tree species in North America that climate-condition interactions dominate responses through two pathways, i) effects of growth that depend on climate, and ii) effects of climate that depend on tree size. Because tree fecundity first increases and then declines with size, climate change that stimulates growth promotes a shift of small trees to more fecund sizes, but the opposite can be true for large sizes. Change the depresses growth also affects fecundity. We find a biogeographic divide, with these interactions reducing fecundity in the West and increasing it in the East. Continental-scale responses of these forests are thus driven largely by indirect effects, recommending management for climate change that considers multiple demographic rates.

  2. 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.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 16, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  4. Resource allocation theory posits that increased soil nutrient availability results in decreased plant investment in nutrient acquisition. We evaluated this theory by quantifying fine root biomass and growth in a long term, nitrogen (N) 9 phosphorus (P) fertilization study in three mature northern hardwood forest stands where aboveground growth increased primarily in response to P addition. We did not detect a decline in fine root bio- mass or growth in response to either N or P. Instead, fine root growth increased in response to N, by 40% for length (P = 0.04 for the main effect of N in ANOVA), and by 36% for mass, relative to controls. Fine root mass growth was lower in response to N + P addition than predicted from the main effects of N and P (P = 0.01 for the interaction of N 9 P). The response of root growth to N availability did not result in detectable responses in fine root biomass (P = 0.61), which is consistent with increased root turnover with N addition. We propose that the differential growth response to fertilization between above- and belowground components is a mechanism by which trees enhance P acquisition in response to increasing Nmore »availability, illustrating how both elements may co- limit northern hardwood forest production.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 27, 2023
  5. Microbial biomass is known to decrease with soil drying and to increase after rewetting due to physiological assimilation and substrate limitation under fluctuating moisture conditions, but how the effects of moisture changes vary between dry and wet environments is unclear. Here, we conducted a meta‐analysis to assess the effects of elevated and reduced soil moisture on microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and nitrogen (MBN) across a broad range of forest sites between dry and wet regions. We found that the influence of both elevated and reduced soil moisture on MBC and MBN concentrations in forest soils was greater in dry than in wet regions. The influence of altered soil moisture on MBC and MBN concentrations increased significantly with the manipulation intensity but decreased with the length of experimental period, with a dramatic increase observed under a very short‐term precipitation pulse. Moisture effect did not differ between coarse‐ and fine‐textured soils. Precipitation intensity, experimental duration, and site standardized precipitation index (dry or wet climate) were more important than edaphic factors (i.e., initial water content, bulk density, clay content) in determining microbial biomass in response to altered moisture in forest soils. Different responses of microbial biomass in forest soils between dry and wetmore »regions should be incorporated into models to evaluate how changes in the amount, timing and intensity of precipitation affect soil biogeochemical processes.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 12, 2023
  6. Earth System Models (ESMs) have implemented nitrogen (N) cycles to account for N limitation on terrestrial carbon uptake. However, representing inputs, losses and recycling of N in ESMs is challenging. Here, we use global rates and ratios of key soil N fluxes, including nitrification, denitrification, mineralization, leaching, immobilization and plant uptake (both NH4+ and NO3-), from the literature to evaluate the N cycles in the land model components of two ESMs. The two land models evaluated here, ELMv1-ECA and CLM5.0, originated from a common model but have diverged in their representation of plant/microbe competition for soil N. The models predict similar global rates of gross primary productivity (GPP) but have ~2 to 3-fold differences in their underlying global mineralization, immobilization, plant N uptake, nitrification and denitrification fluxes. Both models dramatically underestimate the immobilization of NO3- by soil bacteria compared to literature values and predict dominance of plant uptake by a single form of mineral nitrogen (NO3- for ELM, with regional exceptions, and NH4+ for CLM5.0). CLM5.0 strongly underestimates the global ratio of gross nitrification:gross mineralization and both models likely substantially underestimate the ratio of nitrification:denitrification. Few experimental data exist to evaluate this last ratio, in part because nitrification and denitrificationmore »are quantified with different techniques and because denitrification fluxes are difficult to measure at all. More observational constraints on soil nitrogen fluxes like nitrification and denitrification, as well as greater scrutiny of the functional impact of introducing separate NH4+ and NO3- pools into ESMs, could help improve confidence in present and future simulations of N limitation on the carbon cycle.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 12, 2023
  7. One promising approach to mitigate the negative impacts of insect pests in forests is to adapt forestry practices to create ecosystems that are more resistant and resilient to biotic disturbances. At the stand scale, local stand management practices often cause idiosyncratic effects on forest pests depending on the environmental context and the focal pest species. However, increasing tree diversity appears to be a general strategy for reducing pest damage across several forest types. At the landscape scale, increasing forest heterogeneity (e.g., intermixing different forest types and/or age classes) represents a promising frontier for improving forest resistance and resilience and for avoiding large-scale outbreaks. In addition to their greater resilience, heterogeneous forest landscapes frequently support a wide range of ecosystem functions and services. A challenge will be to develop cooperation and coordination among multiple actors at spatial scales that transcend historical practices in forest management.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 7, 2023
  8. Tree fecundity and recruitment have not yet been quantified at scales needed to anticipate biogeographic shifts in response to climate change. By separating their responses, this study shows coherence across species and communities, offering the strongest support to date that migration is in progress with regional limitations on rates. The southeastern continent emerges as a fecundity hotspot, but it is situated south of population centers where high seed production could contribute to poleward population spread. By contrast, seedling success is highest in the West and North, serving to partially offset limited seed production near poleward frontiers. The evidence of fecundity and recruitment control on tree migration can inform conservation planning for the expected long-term disequilibrium between climate and forest distribution.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 4, 2023