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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

Climate, Fire, and Carbon Cycle Sciences

Climate and Air Pollution

[Photo:] Tree that died from drought in a Michigan forest.Climate change (changes in the atmospheric temperature and precipitation) and air pollution (changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere) both have large impacts on ecosystems. These impacts include changes in forest productivity, nutrient availability, soil and water acidification, and biodiversity. Our research involves assessing the response of forest species and ecosystems to the physical and chemical changes in the atmosphere such as increasing nitrogen deposition, ozone, and carbon dioxide; identifying the processes that are sensitive to climate change and elevated greenhouse gases; and determining the extent to which forest ecosystems will change.  Impacts and responses are regionally diverse depending on magnitude of threats and ecosystem characteristics.  For example, in the Mid-Atlantic region, a critical issue is impacts of climate change and N deposition on forest ecosystems and N export from forested watersheds.  To quantify impacts at large scales and to simulate possible adaptive responses, there is a strong emphasis on modeling and predicting how these physical and chemical climate changes will influence the structure, function, and productivity of forest and related ecosystems.  The ultimate goal of this research is to determine the implications for forest management and develop decision support systems for forest management activities to sustain forest productivity, health, and diversity.

Selected Research Studies

Last Modified: 08/20/2009