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  1. Newton, Irene L. (Ed.)

    Paenibacillussp. strain RC67 was isolated from the Harvard Forest long-term soil warming experiment. The assembled genome is a single contig with 7,963,753 bp and 99.4% completion. Genome annotation suggests that the isolate is of a novel bacterial species.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 16, 2024
  2. Abstract

    One mechanism proposed to explain high species diversity in tropical systems is strong negative conspecific density dependence (CDD), which reduces recruitment of juveniles in proximity to conspecific adult plants. Although evidence shows that plant-specific soil pathogens can drive negative CDD, trees also form key mutualisms with mycorrhizal fungi, which may counteract these effects. Across 43 large-scale forest plots worldwide, we tested whether ectomycorrhizal tree species exhibit weaker negative CDD than arbuscular mycorrhizal tree species. We further tested for conmycorrhizal density dependence (CMDD) to test for benefit from shared mutualists. We found that the strength of CDD varies systematically with mycorrhizal type, with ectomycorrhizal tree species exhibiting higher sapling densities with increasing adult densities than arbuscular mycorrhizal tree species. Moreover, we found evidence of positive CMDD for tree species of both mycorrhizal types. Collectively, these findings indicate that mycorrhizal interactions likely play a foundational role in global forest diversity patterns and structure.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Forester and logger responses to the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) could substantially affect regions across the United States. We analyzed forester and logger responses to EAB in Massachusetts and Vermont, exploring characteristics associated with purposeful targeting of substantial ash properties; managing forests differently because of EAB; and regeneration goals. One-third of respondents increased timber sales on ash properties, motivated by ecological, not economic, impacts of EAB. Nearly 60% said EAB changed their management activity in stands with ash; changes influenced by the ecological impact of EAB and not economic factors. Those influenced by EAB’s ecological impact to choose properties with substantial ash were more likely to have increased harvest area size, sawtimber removal, and harvest intensity. Loggers were more likely than foresters to remove small-diameter ash and low-grade trees. Both rated regenerating economically valuable species well adapted to the site as their highest essential priority.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 24, 2024
  4. Abstract

    Conceptual and empirical advances in soil biogeochemistry have challenged long-held assumptions about the role of soil micro-organisms in soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics; yet, rigorous tests of emerging concepts remain sparse. Recent hypotheses suggest that microbial necromass production links plant inputs to SOC accumulation, with high-quality (i.e., rapidly decomposing) plant litter promoting microbial carbon use efficiency, growth, and turnover leading to more mineral stabilization of necromass. We test this hypothesis experimentally and with observations across six eastern US forests, using stable isotopes to measure microbial traits and SOC dynamics. Here we show, in both studies, that microbial growth, efficiency, and turnover are negatively (not positively) related to mineral-associated SOC. In the experiment, stimulation of microbial growth by high-quality litter enhances SOC decomposition, offsetting the positive effect of litter quality on SOC stabilization. We suggest that microbial necromass production is not the primary driver of SOC persistence in temperate forests. Factors such as microbial necromass origin, alternative SOC formation pathways, priming effects, and soil abiotic properties can strongly decouple microbial growth, efficiency, and turnover from mineral-associated SOC.

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  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.

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  6. Abstract

    Dry deposition could partially explain the observed response in ambient ozone to extreme hot and dry episodes. We examine the response of ozone deposition to heat and dry anomalies using three long‐term co‐located ecosystem‐scale carbon dioxide, water vapor and ozone flux measurement records. We find that, as expected, canopy stomatal conductance generally decreases during days with dry air or soil. However, during hot days, concurrent increases in non‐stomatal conductance are inferred at all three sites, which may be related to several temperature‐sensitive processes not represented in the current generation of big‐leaf models. This may offset the reduction in stomatal conductance, leading to smaller net reduction, or even net increase, in total deposition velocity. We find the response of deposition velocity to soil dryness may be related to its impact on photosynthetic activity, though considerable variability exists. Our findings emphasize the need for better understanding and representation of non‐stomatal ozone deposition.

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  7. Summary

    Wood formation determines major long‐term carbon (C) accumulation in trees and therefore provides a crucial ecosystem service in mitigating climate change. Nevertheless, we lack understanding of how species with contrasting wood anatomical types differ with respect to phenology and environmental controls on wood formation.

    In this study, we investigated the seasonality and rates of radial growth and their relationships with climatic factors, and the seasonal variations of stem nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) in three species with contrasting wood anatomical types (red oak: ring‐porous; red maple: diffuse‐porous; white pine: coniferous) in a temperate mixed forest during 2017–2019.

    We found that the high ring width variability observed in both red oak and red maple was caused more by changes in growth duration than growth rate. Seasonal radial growth patterns did not vary following transient environmental factors for all three species. Both angiosperm species showed higher concentrations and lower inter‐annual fluctuations of NSC than the coniferous species.

    Inter‐annual variability of ring width varied by species with contrasting wood anatomical types. Due to the high dependence of annual ring width on growth duration, our study highlights the critical importance of xylem formation phenology for understanding and modelling the dynamics of wood formation.

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  8. Abstract

    We use the Multiple Element Limitation (MEL) model to examine responses of 12 ecosystems to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2), warming, and 20% decreases or increases in precipitation. Ecosystems respond synergistically to elevated CO2, warming, and decreased precipitation combined because higher water‐use efficiency with elevated CO2and higher fertility with warming compensate for responses to drought. Response to elevated CO2, warming, and increased precipitation combined is additive. We analyze changes in ecosystem carbon (C) based on four nitrogen (N) and four phosphorus (P) attribution factors: (1) changes in total ecosystem N and P, (2) changes in N and P distribution between vegetation and soil, (3) changes in vegetation C:N and C:P ratios, and (4) changes in soil C:N and C:P ratios. In the combined CO2and climate change simulations, all ecosystems gain C. The contributions of these four attribution factors to changes in ecosystem C storage varies among ecosystems because of differences in the initial distributions of N and P between vegetation and soil and the openness of the ecosystem N and P cycles. The net transfer of N and P from soil to vegetation dominates the C response of forests. For tundra and grasslands, the C gain is also associated with increased soil C:N and C:P. In ecosystems with symbiotic N fixation, C gains resulted from N accumulation. Because of differences in N versus P cycle openness and the distribution of organic matter between vegetation and soil, changes in the N and P attribution factors do not always parallel one another. Differences among ecosystems in C‐nutrient interactions and the amount of woody biomass interact to shape ecosystem C sequestration under simulated global change. We suggest that future studies quantify the openness of the N and P cycles and changes in the distribution of C, N, and P among ecosystem components, which currently limit understanding of nutrient effects on C sequestration and responses to elevated CO2and climate change.

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  9. Abstract

    Carbon starvation posits that defoliation‐ and drought‐induced mortality results from drawing down stored non‐structural carbohydrates (NSCs), but evidence is mixed, and few studies evaluate mortality directly. We tested the relationships among defoliation severity, NSC drawdown and tree mortality by measuring NSCs in mature oak trees defoliated by an invasive insect,Lymantria dispar, across a natural gradient of defoliation severity.

    We collected stem and root samples from mature oaks (Quercus rubraandQ.alba) in interior forests (n = 34) and forest edges (n = 47) in central Massachusetts, USA. Total NSC (TNC; sugar + starch) stores were analysed with respect to tree size, species and defoliation severity, which ranged between 5% and 100%.

    TNC stores declined significantly with increasingly severe defoliation. Forest edge trees had higher TNC stores that were less sensitive to defoliation than interior forest trees, although this may be a result of differing defoliation history. Furthermore, we observed a mortality threshold of 1.5% dry weight TNC.

    Our study draws a direct link between insect defoliation and TNC reserves and defines a TNC threshold below which mortality is highly likely. These findings advance understanding and improve model parametrization of tree response to insect outbreaks, an increasing threat with globalization and climate change.

    A freePlain Language Summarycan be found within the Supporting Information of this article.

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  10. Premise

    The success or failure of propagules in contrasting microhabitats may play a role in biological invasion. We tested for variation in demographic performance and phenotypic trait expression during invasion byAlliaria petiolatain different microhabitats.


    We performed a reciprocal transplant experiment withAlliaria petiolatafrom edge, intermediate, and forest understory microhabitats to determine the roles of the environment and maternal source on traits, fecundity, population growth rates (λ), and selection.


    Observations ofin situpopulations show that edge populations had the highest density and reproductive output, and forest populations had the lowest. In experimental populations, population growth rates and reproductive output were highest in the edge, and the intermediate habitat had the lowest germination and juvenile survival. Traits exhibited phenotypic plasticity in response to microhabitat, but that plasticity was not adaptive. There were few effects of maternal source location on fitness components or traits.


    Alliaria petiolataappears to be viable, or nearly so, in all three microhabitat types, with edge populations likely providing seed to the other microhabitats. The intermediate microhabitat may filter propagules at the seed stage, but discrepancies betweenin situobservations and experimental transplants preclude clear conclusions about the role of each microhabitat in niche expansion. However, edge microhabitats show the highest seed output in both analyses, suggesting that managing edge habitats might reduce spread to the forest understory.

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