Ecosystem Baselines and Restoration

Science Center Objects

This research theme coalesces studies of old-growth temperate forests in several major thematic areas including landscape and ecosystem controls on watershed nutrient export, wildfire disturbance legacies on biogeochemical cycling, and the imprint of tree species on soil nutrients in old-growth forests. 

Biogeochemical cycles of essential nutrients exert strong control over the development of forest ecosystems. Human activities can however dramatically alter these cycles away from natural baseline conditions, often with poorly understood consequences for long-term ecosystem sustainability. Understanding the nature and extent of these changes requires information on how forest biogeochemical cycles work in the absence of significant human disturbance. Such baselines studies of unpolluted old-growth forests can be used to evaluate human influences on forests, test ecosystem biogeochemical theory, and set appropriate goals for forest restoration activities.

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