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Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling in the New Jersey Pine Barrens

Title:  Climate Change and Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics in the NJ Pine Barrens

Abstract:  The New Jersey pine barrens are a unique and interesting landscape.  It is the largest contiguous forest on the eastern seaboard and contains many rare species and forest types.  There are extensive areas of sandy soils, creating 'dwarf'' pitch pine forests that are highly flammable.  The area has been extensively harvested and repeatedly burned since colonial times.  Housing development and fragmentation pose the largest immediate threat to the health of these forests.  Longer-term, climate change could radically transform the region.

We are assessing the interactive effects of fire management and insect defoliation on tree species composition, carbon, and nitrogen dynamics in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. We are determining how interactions among these disturbances affect management goals. Our goal is to create a framework for understanding landscape to regional management scenarios in areas with multiple, interacting management priorities that can be applied across the US.  We use then use this framework to project future changes that may be caused by climate change or changes in fire management policy. In so doing, we are continually advancing the broader understanding of C and N dynamics and will apply these lessons learned elsewhere.

Funding: US Forest Service

People: Alec Kretchun, Melissa Lucash, Robert Scheller

Collaborators:  John Hom (USFS), Ken Clark (USFS), Samantha Chapman (Villanova), Inga La Puma

Status:  Completed

Publications:

Kretchun, A.M., R.M. Scheller, M.S. Lucash, K.L. Clark, J. Hom and S. Van Tuyl. 2014. Predicted Effects of Gypsy Moth Defoliation and Climate Change on Forest Carbon Dynamics in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. PLoS ONE 9(8): e102531. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102531

Clark, K.L., N. Skowronski, H. Renninger, R.M. Scheller. 2014. Climate Change and Fire Management in the mid-Atlantic Region. Forest Ecology and Management 327: 306-315. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.09.049

Lucash, M.S., R.M. Scheller, A.M. Kretchun, K.L. Clark and J.Hom.  2014. Impacts of fire and climate change on long-term nitrogen availability and forest productivity in the Jersey Pine Barrens. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44(5): 404-412.

Scheller, R.M., A. M. Kretchun, S. Van Tuyl, K. L. Clark, M. S. Lucash, and J. Hom. 2012. Divergent carbon dynamics under climate change in forests with diverse soils,tree species, and land use histories. Ecosphere 3(11):110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/ES12-00241.1

Scheller, R.M., S. Van Tuyl, K. Clark, J. Hom, I. La Puma. 2011. Carbon sequestration in the in the New Jersey pine barrens under different scenarios of fire management. Ecosystems 14:987-1004.

Scheller, R.M., S. Van Tuyl, K. Clark, N.G. Hayden, J. Hom,D.J. Mladenoff. 2008. Simulation of forest change in the New Jersey Pine Barrens under current and historic conditions. Forest Ecology and Management255:1489-1500.

Presentations:

Lucash, M.S., R.M. Scheller, A.M. Kretchun, K.L. Clark, J. Hom, S.K. Chapman.  Nitrogen cycling in the New Jersey Pine Barrens as a consequence of insect outbreaks and wildfire.  Ecological Society of America 95th Annual Meeting.  August, 2012.  Portland, Oregon.

Scheller, R.M. Modeling spatial, temporal, and taxonomic heterogeneity:  Landscape-scale estimates of forest C dynamics.  Invited Speaker at Organized Oral Session at the Ecological Society of America 97th Annual Meeting.  August, 2012. Portland, OR.

La Puma, I., R. Lathrop Jr., R.M. Scheller, S. Van Tuyl. Last fire in the pines: Implications of human induced ecological change in the New Jersey Pinelands. International Association of Landscape Ecology Meeting. April, 2012, Newport, Rhode Island.

Lucash M.S., R.M. Scheller, A.M. Kretchun, K. Clark and J. Hom. Forecasting changes in belowground productivity and nutrient cycling of soils in the New Jersey Pine Barrens as a consequence of climate change and wildfire. DOE Workshop on Scaling Root Processes: Global Impacts. March 2012.  http://www.bio.anl.gov/ScalingRootProcesses-GlobalImpactsWorkshop/students/

Lucash, M.S., R.M. Scheller, A. Kretchun, K. Clark and J. Hom. Improving N cycling and forest productivity: Application to the NJ Pine Barrens. LANDIS-II Meeting. January 2012. Madison, WI.