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Wednesday, April 11 • 3:30pm - 3:45pm
SYMPOSIA-15: Forest Edge-ucation: Patterns and Mechanistic Drivers of Forest Carbon Dynamics in Fragmented Landscapes

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AUTHORS: Andrew B. Reinmann, Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY*; Lucy R. Hutyra, Boston University; Ian A. Smith, Boston University; Jonathan R. Thompson, Harvard Forest

ABSTRACT: Twenty percent of the world’s remaining forests are within 100 m of a forest edge, yet much of our understanding of forest carbon balance and its environmental drivers is largely derived from intact forest ecosystems. This creates a mismatch between the landscapes we study and those we aim to characterize, particularly for urban and human-dominated landscapes where forest fragmentation is pervasive. Forest fragmentation profoundly impacts growing conditions through the creation of edge effects that produce gradients in microclimate, biogeochemistry, and stand structure. Using a combination of field measurements and data synthesis, we are quantifying the drivers of temperate forest carbon cycling response to edge effects, characterizing vegetative growth, respiration, and forest structure. We find large gradients in air and soil temperature, vapor pressure deficit, and soil moisture from the forest interior to edge and the magnitude of this gradient is inversely correlated to the size of the forest edge growth enhancement. Further, leaf area index increases with proximity to the forest edge. While we also find a ~20% increase in soil respiration between the forest interior and edge, this flux is small relative to the near-doubling of aboveground growth near the edge. Forest growth is also more sensitive to climate near the edge than in the interior, with projected increases in heat stress having the potential to substantially reduce the magnitude of the forest edge growth enhancement. These findings represent an important advancement in our understanding of forest C cycle response to edge effects and will greatly improve our capacity to constrain biogenic C fluxes in fragmented and heterogeneous landscapes.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 3:30pm - 3:45pm CDT
Spire Parlor

Attendees (4)