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Short-Term Temperature Response in Forest Floor and Soil to Ice Storm Disturbance in a Northern Hardwood Forest

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Significant changes in the temperature of forest floor and soil of the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest occurred as a result of canopy damage caused by a major ice storm in Jan. 1998. The summertime patterns among open, brush-pile, and reference sites were clear and repeatable: (1) air temperatures at all sites peaked at about the same time each day although the average open-site values were 1 to 4°C higher; (2) the pattern at 2- and 15-cm [0.8- and 5.9-in.] depths was similar to air; (3) the open value was 5 to 9 and 6 to 10°C higher than that in the reference site and brush-pile sites, respectively; (4) there was a lag of ∼0.3 hours for daily peak temperatures between the air and 2-cm depth, and ∼3.3 hours between the daily maximum temperature at 2- and 15-cm depth for the open sites; (5) the open site temperature at both 2- and 15-cm depth was ∼2°C higher than reference and brush-pile temperatures (average daily temperature for the brush-pile site rose to be roughly equal to that in the open site in Aug. 1999 and Aug. 2000, while the reference site remained about 2°C lower); (6) small, but not statistically significant, changes were observed at the 50-cm [19.7-in.] depth where the open site was ∼1°C higher than the brush-pile or reference sites; and (7) regrowth of vegetation in the canopy gaps during the first 3 years reduced forest floor temperatures to or below the temperature at the 2-cm depth in the reference site. These results have potential ecological importance to the northern hardwood forest ecosystem.
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Keywords: Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest; Temperature response; disturbance; ice storm; soil

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Institute of Ecosystem Studies Millbrook NY 12545

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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