Influence of Disturbance and Seasonality on Regional Carbon Flux Upscaling
NASA ROSES 2010, Carbon Cycle Science, $ 655,542
Integration of disturbance patterns into carbon (C) flux estimates to improve terrestrial-atmosphere C exchange is a critical priority for the North American Carbon Program. This project is built upon previous finding from The Chequamegon Ecosystem Atmospheric Study and aims to quantify uncertainty in C flux upscaling, evaluate multiple disturbance stressors, and develop two-way communication channels between federal agencies and scientists. This project asks three main questions: (1) does incorporation of variation in physiological model parameters improve seasonal and interannual CO2 flux hindcasts from eddy flux towers? (2) does incorporation of stand-replacement and partial disturbance processes from remotely sensed observations improve yearly to decadal CO2 flux hindcasts from eddy flux towers? and (3) To what degree does model-data integration aid regional and landscape decision-making for forest C storage management? The finding from this project will directly contribute to national efforts to constrain uncertainty in terrestrial-atmospheric C exchange in several important ways. First, it will utilize new disturbance algorithms using Landsat imagery to test whether inclusion of partial and stand-replacing disturbance reduces uncertainty in C flux upscaling. Second, it will use a computationally tractable but responsive photosynthetic model to evaluate whether a more sophisticated parameterization of plant physiology aids temporal diagnosis of C flux estimates. Third, by collaborating with regional and national Forest Service personnel, this project aims to partially address the ‘end-to-end’ problem of C cycle science by helping managers to diagnose adaptive capacity of forested landscapes, target locations, and prioritize C management activities.
Co-I(s): Erica A.H. Smithwick (PI)– Penn State University
Kenneth J. Davis – Penn State University
Klaus Keller – Penn State University
Kusum J. Naithani – Penn State University
Robert Kennedy – Oregon State University
Jeff Masek – NASA Goddard
Collaborators: Robert B. Cook – ORNL
Linda Parker - Forest Service
Nathan Urban - Princeton University
Climate, Fire and Carbon: Tipping
Points and Landscape Vulnerability in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
USDI/ Joint Fire Science Program, $ 140,653
Monica G. Turner – University of Wisconsin, Madison
Anthony Westerling - Sierra Nevada Research Institute and UC-Merced
William H. Romme, Colorado State University
Michael G. Ryan, USDA Forest Service RMRS
Consequences of Novel Disturbance Regimes on Climate-Induced Biogeographic Shifts along the Appalachian Trail
Department of Energy, National Institute of Climatic Change Research, $ 125,000
Northward biogeographical shifts are expected in the Eastern US with more southerly species (e.g., oak, hickory, pine) replacing northern hardwoods (e.g., maple, beech, birch). The Appalachian Trail (AT) MEGA-Transect, an ecological monitoring program along this vector, provides an exceptional opportunity to test scientific hypotheses of disturbance-vegetation-climate interactions between southeast and northeast regions. Fire is an extensive disturbance agent in the southeastern US but has a disputed historical role in the northeast. In this project, we hypothesize that under future climate, fire risk may be enhanced, resulting in positive feedbacks and sustaining northward migration of fire-prone vegetation. Alternatively, in the absence of these fire-climate conditions, niche-based projections of northerly migration of fire-prone habitat may be overestimated. This research will clarify how climate-induced shifts in species may interact with or produce novel disturbance regimes. To explore this, we are developing a multi-scaled modeling approach that links a biogeographical model (MC1) with a species-specific model of potential suitable habitat called DISTRIB (Iverson et al., 2008). Model simulations will test fire-climate-vegetation feedbacks, allowing the dynamically generated fires of MC1 to influence the species composition predictions of DISTRIB and the species composition predictions of DISTRIB to influence the fuel load in MC1. Models will be driven with new downscaled 4 km2 resolution climate datasets (historical PRISM
baseline, 3 GCMs, 3 emission scenarios) to test fine-scale fire-climate-vegetation interactions along the AT.
Spatial patterns of nutrient limitation and carbon storage in South African coastal lowland landscapes
National Science Foundation: EAGER, $150,000
A current lack of understanding of complex interactions among fire, climate, and nutrient cycling hinders broad-scale modeling of ecosystem response to climate change. This issue is particularly acute for Africa, which represents the largest source of fire-derived carbon emissions and for which carbon storage estimates are scarce. Direct measurement of carbon storage in new locations and identification of its limiting factors across multiple scales, as explored in this project, is critical for the development of future diagnostic modeling efforts. Understanding how fire and soil nutrients govern these patterns will contribute to landscape and conservation management in the region and globally.
As one facet of this ongoing research, undergraduate Arianna Simpson cataloged and digitally archived a manual of tree and shrub species present in the Cwebe and Dwesa national reserves on South Africa's Wild Coast.
This research is run in parallel with an education abroad program at Penn State, Parks and People, focused on interdisciplinary training of undergraduate students in collaborative international science. Those interested in the study abroad program should visit: http://www.international.psu.edu/global/ for further information.
Climatic Extremes, Mining, and Mycobacterium ulcerans: A Coupled Systems Approach
NSF-Coupled Natural Human Systems, $1,421,997
In this project, we are working in Ghana to explore the emergence of Buruli ulcer (BU) at multiple temporal and spatial scales. Our project considers BU emergence as a function of climatic changes that interact with human-modified landscapes, resulting in increases in flooding and stagnant water.
We expect that human knowledge and behavior, which differ by occupation, age, location, and the degree of marginality people occupy in society, govern the resultant exposure to stagnant water bodies that may house the bacterium causing BU. We believe that the transmission of BU is due to previously unidentified thresholds in these coupled human-natural patterns that interact across spatial and temporal scales. We aim to make concrete recommendations about the conditions under which landscape rehabilitation would enhance human-ecosystem health and resilience. In addition, a key element of our project is the development of a sister-school approach, linking elementary, intermediate, and high schools from Penns Valley Area School District with partner schools in Tarkwa, Asankragwa, Deaso, and Dunkwa. Through collaborative activities, the students and teachers aim to understand human-modified landscapes and disease patterns in Pennsylvania and in Africa.
Petra Tschakert (PI) Penn State University, USA, Joseph Oppong - University of North Texas, USA, Richard Amankwah- University of Mines and Technology, Ghana, Edith Parker - University of Iowa, USA, Simon Gawu, KNUST, Ghana, Kamini Singha - Penn State University, USA, Heidi Hausermann - Penn State University, USA, Erasmus Klutse Ghana Health Directorate, Ghana, Ray Voegborlo KNUST, Ghana,Frank Nyame - University of Ghana, Ghana, Annmarie Ward-Penn State University, USA.
PI and Co-PI(s)
Renee Diehl - Physics (PI)
Angela Lueking - Energy and Mineral Engineering
Erica Smithwick - Geography
Elizabeth Boyer - Forest Hydrology
Annmarie Ward - Education (CoPIs)
Faculty and Departments: Rachel Brennan (Environmental Engineering); Nicole Brown (Wood Chem); Craig Cameron (Biochem and Molecular Bio); Kristen Fichthorn (Chem Engineering); Katherine Freeman (Geosciences); Heather Karsten (Crop Production and Ecology); Margot Kaye, (Forest Ecology); Jennifer Macalady (Geosciences); Erin Sheets (Chem); Jorge Sofo (Physics); Jun Zhu (Physics)
I have developed (with Mark Harmon, Jimm Domingo) a model to predict how carbon storage changes under altered disturbance regimes (Smithwick et al. Landscape Ecology 2006). I also modeled how non-linear interactions across forest edges result in emergent behavior at broad scales, contributing to a greater understanding of scaling issues (Smithwick et al. Landscape Ecology 2003). Leading to a better valuation of ecosystem services, I also calculated that future carbon sequestration potential in the Pacific Northwest could be worth billions of dollars (Smithwick et al. Ecological Applications 2001).
The Effect of Wildfire Severity on Short-Term Post-Fire Boreal Vegetation Recovery in Interior Alaska
Nitrogen Availability Along a Condition Gradient in Headwater Wetlands in the Upper Juniata Watershed, Pennsylvania
Human activities have led to a large inc