Center for Research on Ecosystem Change
Research Work Unit NRS-07
We conduct research on understanding ecological processes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of the northern forest, determining impacts of change on these ecosystems, and providing a scientific basis for managing ecosystems for long-term sustainability. Ecosystems of the northeastern and north central United States provide numerous services, including clean air and water, forest products, wildlife and fish habitat, and recreation opportunities. In turn, management to provide these services affects ecosystem processes.
Challenges include understanding how ecosystems change in response to natural and human-caused disturbances and developing and evaluating management systems that provide ecosystem services while adapting to change. Discovering and developing new knowledge through research, then putting that knowledge to use, are the only means for meeting increasing demands on forests for the many environmental services society expects from them.
The Center for Research on Ecosystem Change emphasizes long-term research while providing opportunities for shorter-term studies. We do long-term studies on U.S. Forest Service experimental forests and other research sites in northern New England and the Lake States. These studies provide the basis for understanding and predicting ecosystem structure, function, and resiliency at multiple temporal and spatial scales. They also provide land owners and natural resource managers a scientific basis for making land management decisions.
Long-term studies provide a range of ecosystem structures and compositions that are ideal for short-term research complementing field measurements with laboratory analysis, simulation modeling, and results from remote sensing technologies. A better understanding of (1) short- and long-term ecosystem responses to natural disturbances and forest management practices, (2) the relationship of forest composition to wildlife habitat, and (3) the complex interactions among the many factors that define forest dynamics will ultimately protect the long-term health and productivity of forests and aquatic ecosystems.
This site is under development as the Forest Service brings together the Northeastern and North Central Research Stations to form the Northern Research Station, serving the Northeast and Midwest. The links below will take you to pages of the old sites for the Ecology & Silviculture of the Lake States Forests, Ecology and Management of Northern Forests, Wildlife and Fish Habitat Relationships in New England Ecosystems, Ecology & Management of Riparian/Aquatic Ecosystems, and Ecological processes: A basis for managing forests and protecting water quality in New England units that combined to form the Center for Research on Ecosystem Change research work unit. Check back often as we expand our site to reflect our combined commitment to supporting the natural resources and people of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States.
- Understand and predict ecosystem structure, function and resiliency through measurement, monitoring, experimentation and modeling.
- Evaluate the response of northern forest ecosystems to environmental change at multiple temporal and spatial scales.
- Identify and evaluate management approaches to restore or maintain ecosystem structure and function under changing conditions.
- Identify monitoring strategies and components that assess the effectiveness of management approaches.
- Manage nine experimental forests: Hubbard Brook, Bartlett, Massabesic and Penobscot in New Hampshire and Maine; and Marcell, Cutfoot, Pike Bay, Argonne, and Dukes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Maintain long-term studies on these experimental forests and other research sites to assess ecosystem change and influence land management decisions through technology transfer.
We are developing North Central Region forest management guides for landowners and natural resource professionals. The red pine guide is on-line now.
Last Modified: 03/07/2013