Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Decreased water flow may be trade-off for more productive forest

Date:
March 25, 2013
Source:
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station
Summary:
As the need for carbon sequestration, biofuels, and other forest products increases, study suggests that there might be unintended consequences to enhancing ecosystems using fertilization.

Bubbling brooks and streams are a scenic and much loved feature of forest ecosystems, but long-term data at the U.S. Forest Service's Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest suggests that more productive forests might carry considerably less water.
Credit: Image courtesy of USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station

Bubbling brooks and streams are a scenic and much loved feature of forest ecosystems, but long-term data at the U.S. Forest Service's Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest suggests that more productive forests might carry considerably less water, according to a study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mark Green, a research hydrologist with the Forest Service's Northern Research Station and an assistant professor at Plymouth State University, is the lead author for the study titled "Decreased Water Flowing from a Forest Amended with Calcium Silicate."

Acid rain during the 20th century caused widespread depletion of available soil calcium, an essential plant nutrient, throughout much of the industrialized world. In 1999, scientists at the Forest Service's Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire restored soil calcium levels to pre-industrial levels in a small watershed in an effort to better understand the ecological consequences of the depletion of available soil calcium. Subsequent studies demonstrated that following the application of a finely ground and pelletized calcium silicate mineral called wollastonite, species such as red spruce and sugar maple experienced improved cold hardiness and less seedling mortality in areas where calcium was applied.

When Green reviewed the long-term data several years later, he found something surprising about the 1999 study: within 5 months of the application of wollastonite across a 30-acre watershed, there was a substantial increase in forest water use compared to a nearby watershed that was not treated with calcium.

"Our results in this study show that when we create a substantial increase in soil calcium, this forest responded by using more water, partly associated with increased growth. The result is that we see a change in forest hydrology," Green said. "We still have to determine whether the prior decrease in soil calcium due to acid rain caused a proportional decrease in evapotranspiration and thus greater streamflow, and if that means that when forests recover from acid deposition we'll see a decrease in water flowing in streams."

As the need for carbon sequestration, biofuels, and other forest products increases, the study suggests that there might be unintended consequences to enhancing ecosystems using fertilization.

"Long-term ecological research is important to understanding the health and sustainability of the nation's forests," said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Northern Research Station. "With a network of more than 80 experimental forests located across the country and decades of monitoring data from this network, the Forest Service is contributing invaluable information about forest conditions along a complex rural to urban land gradient as well as discovering other trends through a wide-range of ongoing critical research topics."

Co-authors include NRS researchers Amey Bailey, Scott Bailey, John Campbell, and Paul Schaberg, and John Battles of the University of California, Berkley, Charles Driscoll of Syracuse University, Timothy Fahey of Cornell University, Lucie Lepine of the University of New Hampshire, Gene Likens of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and University of Connecticut, and Scott Ollinger of the University of New Hampshire.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mark B. Green, Amey S. Bailey, Scott W. Bailey, John J. Battles, John L. Campbell, Charles T. Driscoll, Timothy J. Fahey, Lucie C. Lepine, Gene E. Likens, Scott V. Ollinger, and Paul G. Schaberg. Decreased water flowing from a forest amended with calcium silicate. PNAS, March 25, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1302445110

Cite This Page:

USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station. "Decreased water flow may be trade-off for more productive forest." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325160623.htm>.
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station. (2013, March 25). Decreased water flow may be trade-off for more productive forest. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325160623.htm
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station. "Decreased water flow may be trade-off for more productive forest." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325160623.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins