Skip to Main Content
Unexpected ecological advances made possible by long-term data: A Coweeta exampleAuthor(s): C. Rhett Jackson; Jackson R. Webster; Jennifer D. Knoepp; Katherine J. Elliott; Ryan E. Emanuel; Peter V. Caldwell; Chelcy F. Miniat
Source: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
View PDF (5.0 MB)
DescriptionIn the 1970s, Forest Service and academic researchers clearcut the forest in Watershed 7 in the Coweeta Basin to observe how far the perturbation would move the ecosystem and how quickly the ecosystem would return to its predisturbance state. Our
long-term observations demonstrated that this view of resistance and resilience was too simplistic. Forest disturbance triggered a chain of ecological dynamics that are still evolving after 40 years. Short-term pulses in dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN)
(3 years) and streamflows (4 years) were followed by several years in which the system appeared to be returning to predisturbance conditions. Then however, changes in forest composition triggered a regime change in DIN dynamics from biological to hydrological control as well as persistent high stream DIN levels mediated by climatic conditions. These forest composition changes also led to later reductions in streamflow. These long-term observations of streamflows, stream DIN concentrations, stream DIN exports, and stand composition have substantially advanced our understanding of forest ecosystem dynamics; and they demonstrate the value of long-term observational data in revealing ecosystem complexities and surprises, generating new hypotheses, and motivating mechanistic research. Shorter observational records from this experiment would have produced incomplete or erroneous inference.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationJackson, C. Rhett; Webster, Jackson R.; Knoepp, Jennifer D.; Elliott, Katherine J.; Emanuel, Ryan E.; Caldwell, Peter V.; Miniat, Chelcy F. 2018.Unexpected ecological advances made possible by long-term data: A Coweeta example. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water. 39: e1273-. https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1273.
Keywordslong-term, nitrogen, recovery, regime change, hydrology, resilience, watershed
- Coupled cycling of dissolved organic nitrogen and carbon in a forest stream
- Centerpiece of research on the Penobscot Experimental Forest: the US Forest Service long-term silvicultural study
- Long-term hydrologic and water quality responses following commercial clearcutting of mixed hardwoods on a Southern Appalachian catchment
XML: View XML