Assessing the Effects of Climate Change and Air Pollution on Soil Properties and Plant Diversity in Sugar Maple–Beech–Yellow Birch Hardwood Forests in the Northeastern United States: Model Simulations from 1900 to 2100
- 737 Downloads
Historical deposition of nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) over the Eastern United States has impacted ecosystem structure and function. The potential for recovery of ecosystems is relatively uncertain, with deposition paired with future climate change contributing to this uncertainty. The impacts of N and S deposition and climate change (from 1900 to 2100) on two sugar maple–beech–yellow birch sites in the Northeastern United States were evaluated using the paired biogeochemical–vegetation response model ForSAFE-Veg at two research sites, Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest and Bear Brook Watershed. Deposition was found to be the dominant stressor, causing changes in soil acid–base chemistry, N enrichment, and shifts in understory species composition. Responses of the two sites varied due primarily to differences in buffering capacity and levels of deposition. However, at both sites, recovery of soil and plant community properties to 1900 conditions was approached only when future deposition to 2100 was returned to pre-industrial levels. Policy-based reductions in deposition generally halted further damage to soils and plants and resulted in no or only partial recovery. Increased temperatures and precipitation according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate futures stimulated soil and plant response, thereby accelerating changes in plant communities and N enrichment and counteracting the acidifying impacts of N and S deposition on soil acid–base chemistry.
KeywordsDeposition Climate Soil Understory vegetation Model Hubbard Brook Bear Brook
The data for Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) were largely derived from the datasets of the cooperative Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, which is operated and maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS). The data for Bear Brook Watershed in Maine (BBWM) were derived from datasets from the BBWM research program and publications. The BBWM data have been collected since 1986 with support from the U.S. EPA, U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, USFS, the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station, the Senator George Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research, and the University of Maine. The project principal investigators are I.J. Fernandez, J.S. Kahl, S.A. Norton, L.E. Rustad, and G.B. Wiersma. The University of Maine has a long-term lease with the International Paper Corporation, the landowner. The authors appreciate the access to these data and would like to specifically acknowledge the extra efforts of Cheryl Spencer in providing the East Bear soil samples, Farrah Fatemi for providing the BBWM soil solution data, Scott Bailey for providing the HBEF soil chemistry data, and Natalie Cleavitt for measuring the understory vegetation in HBEF.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
This study was funded by the U.S. EPA (contract EP-C-11-036).
The views presented here are those of the authors and do not represent official views or policy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or any other U.S. federal agency.
- Belyazid, S. (2006). Dynamic modelling of biogeochemical processes in forest ecosystems. Lund, Sweden: Chemical Engineering, Lund University.Google Scholar
- Belyazid, S., Phelan, J. Nihlgård, B., Sverdrup, H., Driscoll, C., Fernandez, I., Aherne, J., Adams, L., Bailey, S., Arsenault, M., Cleavitt, N., Engstrom, B., Dennis, R., Sperduto, D., Werier, D., & Clark, C. (submitted). Assessing the effect of climate change and air pollution on soil properties and plant diversity in Northeastern U.S. hardwood forests: model setup & evaluation. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution.Google Scholar
- Belyazid, S., Sverdrup, H., Kurz, D., & Braun, S. (2011b). Exploring ground vegetation change for different deposition scenarios and methods for estimating critical loads for biodiversity using the ForSAFE-VEG model in Switzerland and Sweden. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 216, 289–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bobbink, R., & Hettelingh, J.-P. (Eds.). (2011). Review and revision of empirical critical loads and dose-response relationships. Proceedings of an expert workshop, Noordwijkerhout, 23–25 June 2010, Coordination Centre of Effects (CCE), National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands.Google Scholar
- Bobbink, R., Hicks, K., Galloway, J., Spranger, T., Alkemade, R., Ashmore, M., Bustamante, M., Cinderby, S., Davidson, E., Dentener, F., Emmett, B., Erisman, J.-W., Fenn, M., Gilliam, F., Nordin, A., Pardo, L., & De Vries, W. (2010). Global assessment of nitrogen deposition effects on terrestrial plant diversity: a synthesis. Ecological Applications, 20, 30–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Boesch, D. F. (1977). Application of numerical classification in ecological investigations of water pollution. Special Scientific Report 77. VIMS (EPA-600/3-770).Google Scholar
- Driscoll, C.T. (2011). Chemistry of freely-draining soil solutions at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Watershed 6, 1982 – present. Available online at: http://hubbardbrook.org/data/dataset.php?id=62. Accessed on 07/02/15.
- Driscoll, C. T., Lawrence, G. B., Bulger, A. J., Butler, T. J., Cronan, C. S., Eager, C., Lambert, K. F., Likens, G. E., Stoddard, J. L., & Weathers, K. C. (2001). Acidic deposition in the Northeastern United States: sources and inputs, ecosystem effects, and management strategies. Bioscience, 51, 180–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Eckhoff, J.D., & Wiersma, G.B. (2002). Baseline data for long-term forest vegetation monitoring at Bear Brook Watershed in Maine. Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. Technical bulletin 180. ISSN 1070-1524.Google Scholar
- Fenn, M. E., Huntington, T. G., McLaughlin, S. B., Eagar, C., Gomez, A., & Cook, R. B. (2006). Status of soil acidification in North America. Journal of Forest Science, 52(Special Issue), 3–13.Google Scholar
- Fernandez, I.J., Nelson, S., Norton, S.A., Spencer, C., Rustad, L.E., Simon, K., Kahl, J.S., & Wiersma, G.B. (2013). Bear Brook Watershed in Maine (BBWM): stream and precipitation chemistry. University of Maine, Orono, Maine. Available online at: http://umaine.edu/bbwm. Accessed on 07/02/15.
- Galloway, J. N., Dentener, F. J., Capone, D. G., Boyer, E. W., Howarth, R. W., Seitzinger, S. P., Asner, G. P., Cleveland, P. A., Green, P. A., Holland, E. A., Karl, D. M., Michaels, A. G., Porter, J. H., Townsend, R., & Vorosmarty, C. J. (2004). Nitrogen cycles: past, present, and future. Biogeochemistry, 70, 153–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- IPCC. (2013). Climate Change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex & P.M. Midgley (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom & New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp.Google Scholar
- Kenlan, P., Wiersma, G.B., White, A.S., & Fernandez, I.J. (2009). Composition and biomass of forest floor vegetation in experimentally acidified paired watersheds at the Bear Brook Watershed in Maine. Technical Bulletin 202. Maine Agricultural & Forest Experiment Station. The University of Maine. ISSN 1070-1524.Google Scholar
- Lawrence, G.B., Sullivan, T.J., Burns, D.A., Bailey, S.A., Cosby, B.J., Dovciak, M., Ewing, H.A., McDonnel, T.C., Minocha, R., Quant, J., Rice, K.C., Siemion, J., & Weathers, K. (2015). Acidic deposition along the Appalachian Trail corridor and its effects on acid-sensitive terrestrial and aquatic resources: results of the Appalachian Trail MEGA-transect atmospheric deposition effects study. Natural Resource Report. NPS/NRSS/ARD/NRR—2015/996. Fort Collins, Colorado. Published Report-2223220.Google Scholar
- Lynch, J., Pardo, L., & Huber, C. (2013). Detailed documentation of the CLAD U.S. Critical Loads of Sulfur & Nitrogen Access Database, version 2.0. Available online at: http://nadp.isws.illinois.edu/committees/clad/DB/dl/CLAD_DBV2_Final.pdf. Accessed on 03/13/15.
- Ma, L.-N., Lü, X.-T., Guo, J.-X., Zhang, N.-Y., Yang, J.-Q., & Wang, R.-Z. (2011). The effects of warming and nitrogen addition on soil nitrogen cycling in a temperate grassland, Northeastern China. PLoS ONE, 6, 1–8.Google Scholar
- Mason, R., Zubrow, A., & Eyth, A. (2013). Emissions inventory for air quality modeling technical support document: proposed Tier 3 emissions standards. Air Quality Assessment Division Office of Planning & Standards U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Research Triangle Park, NC 27711. EPA-454/R-13-002. Available online at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/documents/tier3/454r13002.pdf.
- Melillo, J.M., Richmond, T.C., & Yohe, G.W. (Eds.). (2014). Climate change impacts in the United States: the Third National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, 841 pp. doi: 10.7930/J0Z31WJ2. Available online at: http://www.globalchange.gov/nca3-downloads-materials. Accessed on 08/20/15.
- NADP (National Atmospheric Deposition Program). (2015). Annual NTN maps by year. Available online at: http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/NTN/maps.aspx. Accessed on 03/09/15.
- NEG/ECP (New England Governors-Eastern Canadian Premiers). (2001). Protocol for assessing forest sensitivity to N & S deposition. Acid Rain Action Plan. Action Item 4: Forest Mapping Research Project. Available online at: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/clean_air_water/clean_water/critical_loads/local-resources/docs/NEGECP_Forest_Sensitivity_Protocol_5_21_04.pdf.
- Pardo, L. H., Fenn, M., Goodale, C. L., Geiser, L. H., Driscoll, C. T., Allen, E., Baron, J., Bobbink, R., Bowman, W. D., Clark, C., Emmett, B., Gilliam, F. S., Greaver, T., Hall, S. J., Lilleskov, E. A., Liu, L., Lynch, J., Nadelhoffer, K., Perakis, S., Robin-Abbott, M. J., Stoddard, J., Weathers, K., & Dennis, R. L. (2011). Effects of nitrogen deposition and empirical critical loads for nitrogen for ecoregions of the United States. Ecological Applications, 21, 3049–3082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Phelan, J., Belyazid, S., Kurz, D., Guthrie, S., Cajka, J., Sverdrup, H., & Waite, R. (2014). Estimation of soil base cation weathering rates with the PROFILE model to determine critical loads of acidity for forested ecosystems in Pennsylvania, USA: pilot application of a potential national methodology. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 225, 2109. doi: 10.1007/s11270-014-2109-4.
- PRISM (PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University). (2013a). Historical past (1895-1980) climate data. Available at: http://www.prism.oregonstate.edu/historical/. Accessed on 05/01/13.
- PRISM (PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University). (2013b). Recent years (Jan 1981 - Aug 2014) AN81m climate data. Available at: http://www.prism.oregonstate.edu/recent/. Accessed on 05/01/13.
- RCP Database. (2013). RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) Database version. 2.0.5. Available at: http://tntcat.iiasa.ac.at:8787/RcpDb/dsd?Action=htmlpage&page=about#. Accessed on 05/01/13.
- Rockstrom, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., Persson, A., Chapin, F. S., III, Lambin, E. F., Lenton, T. M., Scheffer, M., Folke, C., Schellnhuber, H. J., Nykvist, B., de Wit, C. A., Hughes, T., van der Leeuw, S., Rodhe, H., Sörlin, S., Snyder, P. K., Costanza, R. K., Svedin, U., Falkenmark, M., Karlberg, L., Corell, R. W., Fabry, V. J., Hansen, J., Walker, B., Liverman, D., Richardson, K., Crutzen, P., & Foley, J. A. (2009). A safe operating space for humanity. Nature, 461, 472–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Simkin, S.M., Allen, E.B., Bowman, W.D., Clark, C.M., Belnap, J., Brooks, M.L., Cade, B.S., Collins, S.L., Geiser, L.H., Gilliam, F.S., Jovan, S.E., Pardo, L.H., Schulz, B.K., Stevens, C.L., Suding, K.N., Throop, H.L., & Waller, D.M. (submitted). A continental analysis of ecosystem vulnerability to atmospheric nitrogen deposition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
- Strang, D., & Aherne, J. (2015). Potential influence of climate change on the acid-sensitivity of high-elevation lakes in the Georgia Basin, British Columbia. Advances in Meteorology, 2015, doi: 10.1155/2015/536892
- Sullivan, T. J., Lawrence, G. B., Bailey, S. W., McDonnell, T. C., Beier, C. M., Weathers, K. C., McPherson, G. T., & Bishop, D. A. (2013). Effects of acidic deposition and soil acidification on sugar maple trees on Adirondack Mountains, New York. Environmental Science and Technology, 47, 12687–12694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sverdrup, H., & Warfvinge, P. (1993). The effect of soil acidification on the growth of trees, grass and herbs as expressed by the (Ca + Mg + K)/Al ratio. Reports in Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Report 2:1993. Lund University, Department of Chemical Engineering II, Lund, Sweden. 177 pp.Google Scholar
- Sverdrup, H., Belyazid, S., Kurz, D., & Braun, S. (2008). Proposed method for estimating critical loads for nitrogen based on biodiversity using a fully integrated dynamic model, with testing in Switzerland and Sweden. In: Sverdrup, H. (Ed.), Towards critical loads for nitrogen based on biodiversity: exploring a fully integrated dynamic model at test sites in Switzerland and Sweden. Background Document for the 18th CCE Workshop on the Assessment of Nitrogen Effects under the ICP for Modelling and Mapping, LRTAP Convention (UNECE), 21e25 April 2008, Berne, Switzerland.Google Scholar
- Sverdrup, H., McDonnell, T. C., Sullivan, T. J., Nihlgård, B., Belyazid, S., Rihm, B., Porter, E., Bowman, W. D., & Geiser, L. (2012). Testing the feasibility of using the ForSAFE-VEG model to map the critical load of nitrogen to protect plant biodiversity in the Rocky Mountains region, USA. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 223, 371–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Thuiller, W., Albert, C., Araújo, M. B., Berry, P. M., Cabeza, M., Guisan, A., Hickler, T., Midgley, G. F., Paterson, J., Schurr, F. M., Sykes, M. T., & Zimmermann, N. E. (2008). Predicting global change impacts on plant species’ distributions: future challenges. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 9, 137–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- U.S. EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). (2009). Risk and exposure assessment for review of the secondary national ambient air quality standards for oxides of nitrogen and oxides of sulfur: final. Research, Triangle Park, NC: Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Health and Environmental Impacts Division.Google Scholar
- U.S. EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). (2013a). Draft regulatory impact analysis: Tier 3 motor vehicle emission & fuel standards. Air Quality Assessment Division Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA-420-D-13-002. Available at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/documents/tier3/420d13002.pdf. Accessed on 08/12/2015.
- U.S. EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). (2013b). Air quality modeling technical support document: proposed Tier 3 emission standards. Air Quality Assessment Division Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA-454/R-13-006. Available at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/documents/tier3/454r13006.pdf. Accessed on 08/12/2015.
- UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). (2004). Manual on methodologies and criteria for modeling and mapping critical loads and levels and air pollution effects, risks, and trends. Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, Geneva Switzerland. Available at: http://www.icpmapping.org. Accessed on 08/12/2015.
- USFS (U.S. Forest Service). (2013). National forest type dataset. Available at: http://data.fs.usda.gov/geodata/rastergateway/forest_type/index.php. Accessed on 01/01/2013.
- USFS (U.S. Forest Service). (2014). Yellow birch and acid deposition in the Southern Appalachians. Available at: http://www.forestthreats.org/research/projects/project-summaries/yellow-birch-and-acid-deposition-in-the-southern-appalachians. Accessed on 08/12/2015.
- Vitousek, P. M., Aber, J. D., Howarth, R. W., Likens, G. E., Matson, P. A., Schindler, D. W., Schlesinger, W. H., & Tilman, D. G. (1997). Human alterations of the global nitrogen cycle: sources and consequences. Ecological Applications, 7, 737–750.Google Scholar