RACC interns Rachel Markey and Emily Whalen spent the summer working with Dr. Carol Adair on the Northern Forest Mesocosm (NForM) Climate Change Experiment.
As temperatures rise, the ability of forests to maintain, gain, or loose carbon (C) and nutrients has important consequences for climate change mitigation, soil fertility and water quality. The goal of the NForM experiment is to identify the mechanisms driving forest C, nutrient and water balances and to quantify how warming-driven changes in these mechanisms will alter forest health and function using in-field forest mesocosms (small simulated forest watersheds).
This work has direct relevance for determining the ability of temperate forests to maintain important ecosystem services such as C, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) storage and retention and water purification as the climate warms. Rachel and Emily used mesocosms to develop, test, and compare C and nutrient process models to better understand and predict the effect of climate change on temperate forests.