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Michael M Fuller

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Canadian Climate Research

Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Carbon Dynamics in Managed Temperate Forest Communities

Unlike tropical forests, temperate forest communities must cope with seasonal variation in temperatures, which, when combined with corresponding variation in precipitation, exerts a strong influence on species diversity and composition. The strength of the seasonal effect increases with latitude, as winter mean temperatures and the length of the growing season decline. The changes in temperature and growing season in turn influence annual rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and decomposition, each of which contributes to local rates of carbon uptake and release. As interest in the ability of forests to sequester carbon has grown, stimulated by rising concerns about the effects of climate change, resource managers have begun to question how management practices and harvest systems might be adjusted to enhance the ability of forests to absorb atmospheric CO2.

We have assembled a team of forest ecologists, atmospheric chemists, and biogeochemists, to investigate the effects of harvesting and eutrophication on carbon dynamics in mixed hardwood forests. In 2008, we established a meteorological tower at a remote site within the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Preserve (no relation to the Halliburton Oil Company) located near Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, Canada. Using data collected from sensitive chemical analyzers and a variety of environmental instruments, we can estimate the net influx and efflux of CO2 and NOx in the forest stand. This information will be combined with remotely sensed LIDAR data, ecological data, and stem maps of the stand to investigate the influence of composition, structure, harvest impacts, and climate variation on the local carbon dynamics.

Principle Investigators

Dr. Sean Thomas
Dr. Jen Murphy
Dr. Nathan Basiliko

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