Forests in Time: The Environmental Consequences of 1,000 Years of Change in New England

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The Eastern Hemlock, massive and majestic, has played a unique role in structuring northeastern forest environments, from Nova Scotia to Wisconsin and through the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. A “foundation species” influencing all the species in the ecosystem surrounding it, this iconic North American tree has long inspired poets and artists as well as naturalists and scientists.

Five thousand years ago, the hemlock collapsed as a result of abrupt global climate change.  Now this iconic tree faces extinction once again because of an invasive insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid. Drawing from a century of studies at Harvard University’s Harvard Forest, one of the most well-regarded long-term ecological research programs in North America, the authors explore what hemlock’s modern decline can tell us about the challenges facing nature and society in an era of habitat changes and fragmentation, as well as global change.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300115376
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/11/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Foster, Audrey Barker Plotkin, Anthony D’Amato, Ben Baiser, Aaron Ellison, David Orwig, Wyatt Oswald, and Jonathan Thompson are scientific collaborators and colleagues at Harvard University’s Harvard Forest.
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Table of Contents

I A Research Program on Forest Ecology and Change 1
1 Background and Framework for Long-Term Ecological Research 3
2 The Physical and Biological Setting for Ecological Studies 19
3 Biogeochemistry: The Physiology of Ecosystems 32
II Regional History and Landscape Dynamics 41
4 The Environmental and Human History of New England 43
5 Broadscale Forest Response to Land Use and Climate Change 101
6 Long-Term Forest and Landscape Dynamics 125
7 Wildlife Dynamics in the Changing New England Landscape 142
III The Modern Forest Landscape: Legacies of Historical Change 169
8 Forest Landscape Patterns, Structure, and Composition 171
9 Land-Use Legacies in Soil Properties and Nutrients 189
10 Exchanges between the Forest and the Atmosphere 202
IV Understanding Forest Ecosystem Dynamics through Long-Term Experiments 231
11 Simulating a Catastrophic Hurricane 235
12 Exploring the Process of Nitrogen Saturation 259
13 Soil Warming: A Major Consequence of Global Climate Change 280
14 Comparisons between Physical Disturbances and Novel Stresses 296
15 The DIRT Experiment: Litter and Root Influences on Forest Soil Organic Matter Stocks and Function 300
16 Experimental Approaches to Understanding Forest Regeneration 316
17 Synthesis and Extrapolation: Models, Remote Sensing, and Regional Analysis 338
V Lessons from the Forest and Its History 363
18 Insights for Ecology and Conservation 367
19 The Harvard Forest and Understanding the Global Carbon Budget 380
20 The Long Lens of History 394
Bibliographic Essay 401
Bibliography 425
Contributors 463
Index 467
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