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Insects and Fire in New Jersey

Title:  Climate Change and Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics in the NJ Pine Barrens

Abstract:  The New Jersey pine barrens are a unique and interesting landscape.  It is the largest contiguous forest on the eastern seaboard and contains many rare species and forest types.  There are extensive areas of sandy soils, creating 'dwarf'' pitch pine forests that are highly flammable.  The area has been extensively harvested and repeatedly burned since colonial times.  Housing development and fragmentation pose the largest immediate threat to the health of these forests.  Longer-term, climate change could radically transform the region.

We are assessing the interactive effects of fire management and insect defoliation on tree species composition, carbon, and nitrogen dynamics in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. We are determining how interactions among these disturbances affect management goals. Our goal is to create a framework for understanding landscape to regional management scenarios in areas with multiple, interacting management priorities that can be applied across the US.  We use then use this framework to project future changes and may be caused by climate change or changes in fire management policy.

Funding: US Forest Service

Status:  Completed

People: Alec KretchunMelissa LucashRobert SchellerJohn Hom (USFS), and Ken Clark (USFS)

Publications and Presentations:

Kretchun A, RM Scheller, MS Lucash, KL Clark, J Hom and S Van Tuyl. 2014. The effects of multiple disturbances on carbon sequestration in the forests of the New Jersey Pine Barrens under different climate scenarios. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102531

Lucash M.S., R.M. Scheller, A.M. Kretchun, K. Clark and J. Hom. 2014. Impacts of climate change and fire on long-term nitrogen cycling and forest productivity in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44: 402-412.

Lucash, M.S., R.M. Scheller, A.M. Kretchun, K.L. Clark, J. Hom, S.K. Chapman.
  Nitrogen cycling in the New Jersey Pine Barrens as a consequence of insect outbreaks and wildfire.  Ecological Society of America 95th Annual Meeting.  August, 2012.  Portland, Oregon.

Scheller, R.M. Modeling spatial, temporal, and taxonomic heterogeneity:  Landscape-scale estimates of forest C dynamics. Invited Speaker at Organized Oral Session at the Ecological Society of America 97th Annual Meeting.  August, 2012. Portland, OR.

La Puma, I., R. Lathrop Jr., R.M. Scheller, S. Van Tuyl. Last fire in the pines: Implications of human induced ecological change in the New Jersey Pinelands. International Association of Landscape Ecology Meeting. April, 2012, Newport, Rhode Island. 

Lucash M.S., R.M. Scheller, A.M. Kretchun, K. Clark and J. Hom. Forecasting changes in belowground productivity and nutrient cycling of soils in the New Jersey Pine Barrens as a consequence of climate change and wildfire. DOE Workshop on Scaling Root Processes: Global Impacts. March 2012.

Lucash, M.S., R.M. Scheller, A. Kretchun, K. Clark and J. Hom. Improving N cycling and forest productivity: Application to the NJ Pine Barrens. LANDIS-II Meeting. January 2012. Madison, WI.

Scheller, R.M., S. Van Tuyl, K. Clark, J. Hom, I. La Puma. 2011. Carbon sequestration in the in the New Jersey pine barrens under different scenarios of fire management. Ecosystems 14:987-1004.