Problem: Natural disturbance agents such as wind, ice, earthquakes, etc. have profound influence on individual trees and also forests. Soils are impacted by these agents and as a result may additional indirect impacts on forests and trees. These effects on belowground processes tend to be less known, although may be very important for ecosystem resistance and resilience to these disturbances.
Goals: The goals of this research are to understand the impacts associated with natural disturbances agents such as wind, ice, earthquakes, etc. on soils as they impact tree and forest health and growth and also ecosystem functions.
Methods: Current research in this topic area is directed towards examining the impacts of soils on tree biomechanics and stability of urban trees in response to actual and simulated wind events. Other active research in this topic pertains to assessing earthquake impacts to urban soils as potential substrates for urban trees in Christchurch, New Zealand. Previous studies in this research area have detailed the impacts of canopy gaps on soils and biogeochemical cycling in old growth northern hardwood-hemlock ecosystems in the Huron and Porcupine Mountains, upper MI, USA. Natural forest canopy gap work is also planned for the East Woods at The Morton Arboretum.
Personnel: Research on this area is led by Dr. Bryant Scharenbroch with collaboration from Dr. Jake Miesbauer (The Morton Arboretum), Dr. Justin Morgenroth (U Christchurch), and Dr. Jim Bockheim (UW-Madison).
Funding: Funding for this research is provided by The Morton Arboretum.
Morgenroth, J., P. Almond, B.C. Scharenbroch, T. Wilson, and S. Sharp-Heward. 2013. Soil profile inversion in earthquake-induced liquefaction-affected soils and the potential effects on urban trees. Accepted in Geoderma. 07/29/13.
Scharenbroch, B.C. and J.G. Bockheim. 2008. Gaps and soil carbon dynamics in old growth northern hardwood-hemlock forests. Ecosystems. 11:426-441.
Scharenbroch, B.C. and J.G. Bockheim. 2008. The effects of gap disturbance on nitrogen cycling and retention in late-successional northern hardwood-hemlock forests. Biogeochemistry. 87:231-248.
Scharenbroch, B.C. and J.G. Bockheim. 2007. Impacts of forest gaps on soil properties and processes in old growth northern hardwood-hemlock forests. Plant Soil. 294:219-233.
Scharenbroch, B.C. and J.G. Bockheim. 2007. Pedodiversity in an old-growth northern hardwood forest in the Huron Mountains, Upper Peninsula, Michigan. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 37:1106-1117.
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