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Binkley, Dan

Nitrogen enters terrestrial ecosystems through multiple pathways during primary succession. We measured accumulation of total soil nitrogen and changes in inorganic nitrogen (N) pools across a 300-y sequence of river terraces in northwest Alaska and assessed the contribution of the nitrogen-fixing shrub Shepherdia canadensis. Our work compared 5 stages of floodplain succession, progressing from a sparsely vegetated silt cap to dense shrubby vegetation, balsam poplar-dominated (Populus balsamifera) and white spruce-dominated (Picea glauca) mixed forests, and old-growth white spruce forest. Total soil N (0–30 cm depth) increased throughout the age sequence, initially by 2.4 g N·m−2·y−1 during the first 120 y of terrace...
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The extensive boreal biome is little studies relative to its global importance. Its high soil moisture and low temperatures result in large below-ground reservoirs of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). Presently, such high-latitude ecosystems are undergoing the largest temperature increases in global warming. Change in soil temperature or moisture in the large pools of soil organic matter could fundamentally change ecosystem C and N budgets. Since 1990, we have conducted treeline studies in a small (800 ha) watershed in Noatak National Preserve, northwestern Alaska. Our objectives were to (1) gain an understanding of treeline dynamics, structure, and function; and (2) examine the effects of global climate change, particularly...
Old-growth forests of Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii Parry ex. Engelm.) and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt.) dominate much of the landscape of the Rocky Mountains. We characterized the structure, biomass and production of 18 old-growth (200?450-year-old) spruce/fir forests in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, as well as the stand-level supply and use of light and nitrogen. Stands were chosen to span a broad range of elevation, aspect, and topography. Aboveground tree biomass in these old-growth forests averaged 253 Mg/ha (range 130?488 Mg/ha), with aboveground net primary production of 3700 kg ha?1 yr?1 (range from 2700 to 5200 kg ha?1 yr?1). Within stands, trees >35 cm in diameter accounted...
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Elk (Cervus elaphus) populations in Rocky Mountain National Park are higher than at any time in the past century, and heavy browsing by elk may interfere with aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) regneration. We used aerial photographs to identify all aspen stands within Rocky Mountain National Park, and all aspen stands within the elk winter range range (defined as 2400 to 2800 m elevation) in three portions of the adjacent Roosevelt National Forest. From this population of aspen stands, we randomly selected 57 stands for evaluation of aspen regeneration. Stands that contained stems younger than 30 years and taller than 2.5 m tall were classified as regenerating successfully. Only 20% of the aspen stands in Estes...
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