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  Research Areas

Carbon and Nutrient Dynamics

The dynamics of carbon and other elements are determined by fundamental processes that result from the interaction of many aspects of ecosystems. As such they are ideal parameters to examine ecosystem function and response to environmental change. Work in this component seeks to measure rates of production, decomposition, nutrient cycling, and the formation of soil organic matter and to determine the factors controlling spatial and temporal variation in these processes. In addition, the stores of carbon and nutrients involved in these processes and cycles are being measured. Simulation modeling, coupled with remote sensing, are being used to extrapolate results to the Pacific Northwest region. As part of LTER6 the data related to this component is being used in the synthesis of carbon and water dynamics in Watershed 1. Carbon and nutrient studies, clockwise from top: harvest practices, litter decomposition studies, log decomposition, and log decay class determination

Research Details

Key Databases

  • Dimensions, cover, volumes, mass and nutrient stores of Coarse Woody Debris (bark and wood from logs, snags, and stumps) from forests plots in the western United States and Mexico, 1977 to 2005 -- TD012
  • Long-term log decay experiments at the Andrews Experimental Forest, 1985 to 2185 -- TD014
  • Comparison of terrestrial versus aquatic decomposition rates of logs at the Andrews Experimental Forest, 1985 to 2050 -- TD017
  • Nitrogen fixation and respiration potential of conifer logs at Andrews Experimental Forest, 1987 to 2006 -- TD018
  • Fine wood decay studies at the H.J. Andrews and other Forests across the world, 1989 to 2006 -- TD021
  • LTER Intersite Fine Litter Decomposition Experiment (LIDET), 1990 to 2002 -- TD023
  • Log leachates from the Andrews Experimental Forest, 1986-1992 -- TD025
  • A chronosequence of woody root decomposition in the Pacific Northwest, 1995 to 1997 -- TD032
  • Litterfall rates in Reference Stand within the Andrews Experimental Forest, 1977-1985 -- TL001

List of all Carbon and Nutrient Dynamics databases


Other Links

Key Citations

van Huysen, Tiff L.; Harmon, Mark E.; Perakis, Steven S.; Chen, Hua. 2013. Decomposition and nitrogen dynamics of 15N-labeled leaf, root, and twig litter in temperate coniferous forests. Oecologia. 173:1563–1573, doi:10.1007/s00442-013-2706-8. (Pub No: 4832)

Allen, S. T.; Brooks, J. R.; Keim, R. F.; Bond, B. J.; McDonnell, J. J. 2013. The role of pre-event canopy storage in throughfall and stemflow by using isotopic tracers. Ecohydrol.. doi: 10.1002/eco.1408 (Pub No: 4843)

Allen, Scott T. 2012. Trickle-down Ecohydrology: Complexity of Rainfall Interception and Net Precipitation under Forest Canopies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 174 p. M.S. thesis. (Pub No: 4764)

Mitchell, Stephen R.; Harmon, Mark E.; O'Connell, Kari E. B. 2012. Carbon debt and carbon sequestration parity in forest bioenergy production. GCB Bioenergy. 4(6): 818-827. (Pub No: 4838)

Sierra, C. A.; Harmon, M. E.; Thomann, E.; Perakis, S. S.; Loescher, H. W. 2011. Amplification and dampening of soil respiration by changes in temperature variability. Biogeosciences. 8: 951-961, doi:10.5194/bg-8-951-2011. (Pub No: 4722)

Bolte, John P.; McKane, Robert B.; Phillips, Donald L.; Schumaker, Nathan H.; White, Denis; Brookes, Allen; Olszyk, David M. 2011. In Oregon, the EPA calculates nature’s worth now and in the future. Solutions for a sustainable and desirable future. 2(6): 35-41. (Pub No: 4761)

Currie, W. S.; Harmon, M. E.; Burke, I. C.; Hart, S. C.; Parton, W. J.; Silver, W. 2010. Cross-biome transplants of plant litter show decomposition models extend to a broader climatic range but lose predictability at the decadal time scale. Global Change Biology. 16: 1744-1761. (Pub No: 4266)

Kayler, Zachary E.; Sulzman, Elizabeth; Rugh, Williams D.; Mix, Alan C.; Bond, Barbara J. 2010. Characterizing the impact of diffusive and advective soil gas transport on the measurement and interpretation of the isotopic signal of soil respiration. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 42: 435-444. (Pub No: 4576)

Sexton, Jay M.; Harmon, Mark E. 2009. Water dynamics in conifer logs in early stages of decay in the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A. Northwest Science. 83(2): 131-139. (Pub No: 4514)

Mitchell, Stephen R.; Harmon, Mark E.; O'Connell, Kari E. B. 2009. Forest fuel reduction alters fire severity and long-term carbon storage in three Pacific Northwest ecosystems. Ecological Applications. 19(3): 643-655. (Pub No: 4540)

Kayler, Zachary E.; Ganio, Lisa; Hauck, Mark; Pypker, Thomas G.; Sulzman, Elizabeth W.; Mix, Alan C.; Bond, Barbara J. 2009. Bias and uncertainty of ?13CO2 isotopic mixing models. Oecologia. doi:10.1007/s00442-009-1531-6. (Pub No: 4581)

van Huysen, Tiffany Lee. 2009. Nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics during decomposition of multiple litter types in temperate coniferous forests. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 160 p. Ph.D. dissertation. (Pub No: 4627)

Sierra, Carlos A. 2009. Environmental variability and system heterogeneity in terrestrial biogeochemical models. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 178 p. Ph.D. dissertation. (Pub No: 4629)

Harmon, Mark E.; Moreno, Adam; Domingo, James B. 2009. Effects of partial harvest on the carbon stores in Douglas-fir/western hemlock forests: a simulation study. Ecosystems. 12: 777-791. (Pub No: 4268)

Harmon, Mark E.; Silver, Whendee L.; Fasth, Becky; Chen, Hua; Burke, Ingrid C.; Parton, William J.; Hart, Stephen C.; Currie, William S.; LIDET. 2009. Long-term patterns of mass loss during the decomposition of leaf and fine root litter: an intersite comparison. Global Change Biology. 15: 1320-1338. (Pub No: 4270)

Busing, R. T.; White, R. D.; Harmon, M. E.; White, P. S. 2009. Hurricane disturbance in a temperate deciduous forest: patch dynamics, tree mortality, and coarse woody detritus. Plant Ecology. 201: 351-363. (Pub No: 4265)

Harmon, Mark E. 2009. Woody detritus mass and its contribution to carbon dynamics of old-growth forests: the temporal context. In: Wirth, Christian; Gleixner, Gerd; Heimann, Martin, eds. Old-growth forests: function, fate and value. Ecological Studies 207. Berlin; Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag : 159-190. Chapter 8. (Pub No: 4447)

Pypker, T. G.; Barnard, H. R.; Hauck, M.; Sulzman, E. W.; Unsworth, M. H.; Mix, A. C.; Kennedy, A. M.; Bond, B. J. 2009. Can carbon isotopes be used to predict watershed-scale transpiration? Water Resources Research. 45(W00D35): doi:10.1029/2008WR007050. (Pub No: 4701)

Sierra, C. A.; Loescher, H. W.; Harmon, M. E.; Richardson, A. D.; Hollinger, D. Y.; Perakis, S. S. 2009. Interannual variation of carbon fluxes from three contrasting evergreen forests: the role of forest dynamics and climate. Ecology. 90(10): 2711-2723. (Pub No: 4723)

Mitchell, Stephen R. 2009. The Effects of Forest Fuel Reduction on Fire Severity and Long-term Carbon Storage. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 176. Ph.D. dissertation. (Pub No: 4841)

Pypker, T. G.; Hauck, M.; Sulzman, E. W.; Unsworth, M. H.; Mix, A. C.; Kayler, Z.; Conklin, D.; Kennedy, A. M.; Barnard, H. R.; Phillips, C.; Bond, B. J. 2008. Toward using ?13C of ecosystem respiration to monitor canopy physiology in complex terrain. Oecologia. 158: 399-410. (Pub No: 4448)

Harmon, Mark E.; Woodall, Christopher W.; Fasth, Becky; Sexton, Jay. 2008. Woody detritus density and density reduction factors for tree species in the United States: a synthesis. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-29 . Newton Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 84 p. (Pub No: 4300)

Kayler, Zachary Eric. 2008. The methodology, implementation and analysis of the isotopic composition of soil respired CO2 in forest ecological research. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 145 p. Ph.D. dissertation. (Pub No: 4699)

Kayler, Zachary E.; Sulzman, Elizabeth W.; Marshall, John D.; Mix, Alan; Rugh, William D.; Bond, Barbara J. 2008. A laboratory comparison of two methods used to estimate the isotopic composition of soil ?13CO2 efflux at steady state. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 22: 2533-2538. (Pub No: 4577)

Schroeder, Todd A.; Gray, Andrew; Harmon, Mark E.; Wallin, David O.; Cohen, Warren B. 2008. Estimating live forest carbon dynamics with a Landsat-based curve-fitting approach. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing. 2(023519): doi.10.1117/12.804055. (Pub No: 4258)

Harmon, Mark E.; Phillips, Donald L.; Battles, John J.; Rassweiler, Andrew; Hall, Robert O. Jr.; Lauenroth, William K. 2007. Quantifying uncertainty in net primary production measurements. In: Fahey, Timothy J.; Knapp, Alan K., eds. Principles and standards for measuring primary production. New York: Oxford University Press: 238-260. (Pub No: 4260)

Kloeppel, Brian D.; Harmon, Mark E.; Fahey, Timothy J. 2007. Estimating aboveground net primary productivity in forest-dominated ecosystems. In: Fahey, Timothy J.; Knapp, Alan K., eds. Principles and standards for measuring primary production. New York: Oxford University Press: 63-81. (Pub No: 4261)

Smithwick, Erica A. H.; Harmon, Mark E.; Domingo, James B. 2007. Changing temporal patterns of forest carbon stores and net ecosystem carbon balance: the stand to landscape transformation. Landscape Ecology. 22: 77-94. (Pub No: 4210)

Homann, Peter S.; Harmon, Mark; Remillard, Suzanne; Smithwick, Erica A. H. 2005. What the soil reveals: potential total ecosystem C stores of the Pacific Northwest region, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 220: 270-283. (Pub No: 3773)

Smithwick, Erica A. H.; Harmon, Mark E.; Domingo, James B. 2003. Modeling multiscale effects of light limitations and edge-induced mortality on carbon stores in forest landscapes. Landscape Ecology. 18: 701-721. (Pub No: 3723)

Hicks, William T.; Harmon, Mark E.; Myrold, David D. 2003. Substrate controls on nitrogen fixation and respiration in woody debris from the Pacific Northwest, USA . Forest Ecology and Management. 176: 25-35. (Pub No: 2829)

Smithwick, Erica A. H.; Harmon, Mark E.; Remillard, Suzanne M.; Acker, Steven A.; Franklin, Jerry F. 2002. Potential upper bounds of carbon stores in forests of the Pacific Northwest. Ecological Applications. 12(5): 1303-1317. (Pub No: 2833)

Chen, Hua; Harmon, Mark E.; Sexton, Jay; Fasth, Becky. 2002. Fine-root decomposition and N dynamics in coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 32: 320-331 . (Pub No: 2793)

Hicks, William T.; Harmon, Mark E. 2002. Diffusion and seasonal dynamics of O2 in woody debris from the Pacific Northwest, USA. Plant and Soil. 243: 67-79. (Pub No: 2828)

Harmon, Mark E.; Marks, Barbara. 2002. Effects of silvicultural practices on carbon stores in Douglas-fir - western hemlock forests in the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A.: results from a simulation model. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 32: 863-877. (Pub No: 2379)

Harmon, Mark E. 2001. Carbon sequestration in forests: addressing the scale question. Journal of Forestry. 99(4): 24-29. (Pub No: 2772)

Chen, Hua; Harmon, Mark E.; Griffiths, Robert P. 2001. Decomposition and nitrogen release from decomposing woody roots in coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest: a chronosequence approach. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 31: 246-260. (Pub No: 2792)

Harmon, Mark E.; Harmon, Janice M.; Ferrell, William K.; Brooks, David. 1996. Modeling carbon stores in Oregon and Washington forest products: 1900-1992. Climatic Change. 33: 521-550. (Pub No: 2101)

Harmon, Mark E.; Garman, Steven L.; Ferrell, William K. 1996. Modeling historical patterns of tree utilization in the Pacific Northwest: carbon sequestration implications. Ecological Applications. 6(2): 641-652. (Pub No: 1444)

Harmon, Mark E.; Sexton, Jay; Caldwell, Bruce A.; Carpenter, Steve E. 1994. Fungal sporocarp mediated losses of Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, N, P, and Zn from conifer logs in the early stages of decomposition. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 24: 1883-1893. (Pub No: 1482)

Griffiths, Robert P.; Harmon, Mark E.; Caldwell, Bruce A.; Carpenter, Steven E. 1993. Acetylene reduction in conifer logs during early stages of decomposition. Plant Soil. 148: 53-61. (Pub No: 1044)

Cohen, W. B.; Harmon, M. E.; Wallin, D. O.; Ferrell, W. K.; Homann, P.; Sollins, P.; Fiorella, M. 1993. Modeling the effects of land use on carbon storage in forests of the Pacific Northwest: a test of methods. In: Proceedings, 25th International Symposium on Remote Sensing and Global Environmental Change; Graz, Austria. I: 533-539. (Pub No: 1434)

Harmon, M. E.; Franklin, J. F.; Swanson, F. J.; Sollins, P.; Gregory, S. V.; Lattin, J. D.; Anderson, N. H.; Cline, S. P.; Aumen, N. G.; Sedell, J. R.; Lienkaemper, G. W.; Cromack, K. Jr.; Cummins, K. W. 1986. Ecology of coarse woody debris in temperate ecosystems. In: MacFadyen, A.; Ford, E. D., eds. Advances in ecological research. Orlando, FL: Academic Press, Inc.: 15: 133-302. (Pub No: 42)