Assessment of forest disturbance in the mid-Atlantic region: a multi-scale linkage between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems

EPA Grant Number: R826110
Title: Assessment of forest disturbance in the mid-Atlantic region: a multi-scale linkage between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
Investigators: Eshleman, Keith N. , Galloway, James N. , Gardner, Robert H. , Pitelka, Louis F. , Seagle, Steven W. , Webb, James R.
Institution: University of Maryland , Oregon State University , University of Virginia
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: October 1, 1997 through September 30, 2002
Project Amount: $697,834
RFA: Approaches to Multi-scale Ecological Assessment in the Middle Atlantic Region (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Ecosystems


Our research focuses on forest disturbance associated with recent watershed defoliations by the gypsy moth larva at spatial scales ranging from small watersheds to the entire region. By combining data from intensively-monitored watersheds describing forest N leakage resulting from gypsy moth defoliation with spatially-extensive data describing the distribution of forest species in the mid-Atlantic region, the spatial pattern of gypsy moth disturbances to forested areas, and survey measurements of dissolved N species in surface water, an approach for assessing the magnitude of forest disturbance and its impact on surface water quality will be demonstrated .


The objective of this project is to develop, test, validate, and demonstrate an analytical framework for assessing regional-scale forest disturbance in the mid-Atlantic region by establishing a multi-scale linkage between forest disturbance and forest nitrogen export to surface waters. It is hypothesized that excessive nitrogen (N) leakage (export) from forested watersheds is a potentially useful, integrative "indicator" of a negative change in forest function which occurs in synchrony with changes in forest structure and species composition


The project will thus effectively provide a multi-resource linkage between forests and surface waters in the mid-Atlantic region using data and models assembled from all levels of the EMAP (Environmental Monitoring & Assessment Program) research "pyramid", including (a) intensive-scale studies of individual watersheds, (b) synoptic-scale surveys of resource conditions, and (c) remotely-sensed information. In addition, the project will provide a clear demonstration of a regional assessment based on the integration of monitoring, modeling, and intensive field research.

Expected Results:

Finally, in addition to disturbance to forest ecosystems, the project will provide quantitative estimates of annual regional export of dissolved N from forest lands to major drainage basins (including Chesapeake Bay) in the mid-Atlantic region.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 24 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 8 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

forest, watershed, mid-atlantic, nitrogen, drainage basin, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection, Environmental Exposure & Risk, Water, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Water & Watershed, Nutrients, Hydrology, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, exploratory research environmental biology, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Mid-Atlantic, Watersheds, Ecological Indicators, Scaling, nutrient transport, environmental monitoring, aquatic ecosystem, EMAP, nutrient supply, remote sensing, ecological exposure, ecological effects, watershed management, ecosystem assessment, N deposition, temperate forest ecosystems, nutrient flux, forest ecosystem, spatial scale, forest ecosystems, modeling, Chesapeake Bay watershed, conservation, environmental consequences, regional scale impacts, ecological assessment, ecological impacts, ecosystem management, gypsy moth, regional scale, terrestrial, aquatic ecosystems, water quality, nitrogen compounds, assessment methods, stress responses, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program, integrated ecological assessment, remotely sensed data, defoliation, interactions, nutrient fluxes, land use, nitrogen, Environmental Monitoring & Assessment Program, indicators, Chesapeake Bay

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • Final Report