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LTER Key Research Findings

Among the many research results from LTER sites, some findings stand out as being particularly important to achieve the LTER goal of providing information to conserve, protect, and manage the nation's ecosystems. Short descriptions of key findings at each site emphasize the importance of long-term data in understanding the pace and pattern of ecological change.

Acid Rain (HBR LTER)
Acid rain results when the combustion of fossil fuels releases sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides to the atmosphere. These contaminants are deposited to the Earth’s surface as precipitation, gases or particles and are called acid rain or acidic deposition. Acid rain was "discovered" in North America at Hubbard Brook through measurements of precipitation chemistry that were started in 1963. The...
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Forests that Govern (HBR LTER)
The northeastern United States has been blessed with beautiful and bountiful forests that provide human society with a variety of valuable ecosystem goods and services including forest products, recreational opportunities, diverse wildlife, stable water flow, pure water quality, and sequestration of carbon. Pioneering research at Hubbard Brook, designed to elaborate ecological theory on the...
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Shifting Songbirds (HBR LTER)
Forest bird populations of northeastern North America are being increasingly affected by environmental challenges, including habitat loss and degradation, forest disturbances such as ice storms, atmospheric pollutants such as acid deposition, pathogens that enhance tree mortality and climate change. To develop conservation and management plans that might mitigate such impacts, a mechanistic...
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Watersheds as Laboratories (HBR LTER)
Watersheds are hydrologic units of the landscape which process water entering as precipitation, resulting in storage or loses through evapotranspiration, groundwater drainage, or stream runoff. In addition to water quantity, precipitation inputs and drainage losses transport nutrients to and from watersheds, and can be important components of nutrient dynamics of ecosystems. Small watersheds (12...
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Winter Climate Change (HBR LTER)
While many from cold northern regions might welcome a bit of climate warming, the negative consequences for others -- for example, many arctic populations -- clearly counterbalance the benefits. In the northeastern United States and elsewhere, one of the ironic outcomes of winter climate warming could be an increase in the frequency of soil frost in forests; long-term observations at Hubbard...
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