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Michael Reinikainen

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Low-severity canopy disturbance presumably influences forest carbon dynamics during the course of stand development, yet the topic has received relatively little attention. This is surprising because of the frequent occurrence of such events and the potential for both the severity and frequency of disturbances to increase as a result of climate change. We investigated the impacts of low-severity canopy disturbance and average insect defoliation on forest carbon stocks and rates of carbon sequestration in mature aspen mixedwood forests of varying stand age (ranging from 61 to 85 years), overstory composition, stocking level, and site quality. Stocking level and site quality positively affected the average annual...
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Forests across the U.S. are experiencing unprecedented tree mortality caused by a variety of stressors, including invasive insects, disease, extreme weather, wildfires, and droughts. For example, the emerald ash borer, a nonnative insect, has killed tens of millions of trees in the Lake States region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan alone in the past decade. Tree die offs alter the structure of forests, making them less-suitable habitat for many species, and decrease their ability to perform important ecosystem functions, such as carbon sequestration. Climate change further threatens already damaged forests, as shifting temperature and precipitation conditions alter species’ range limits. To prevent additional...
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