Foliar Chemistry as an Indicator of Forest Ecosystem Status, Primary Production and Stream Water Chemistry

EPA Grant Number: R825865
Title: Foliar Chemistry as an Indicator of Forest Ecosystem Status, Primary Production and Stream Water Chemistry
Investigators: Aber, John , Driscoll, Charles T. , Hallett, Richard , Martin, Mary
Current Investigators: Aber, John , Bailey, Scott , Hallett, Richard , Martin, Mary , Ollinger, Scott , Smith, Marie-Louise
Institution: University of New Hampshire - Main Campus
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 1, 1998 through May 31, 2001
Project Amount: $850,000
RFA: Ecosystem Indicators (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Ecosystems


The hypothesis is that forest productivity , soil water chemistry and foliar chemistry at the whole stand level are tightly linked to the biogeochemical staus of the forest ecosystem and so to each other. If true, then soil water chemistry , averaged over some time period, can be predicted from foliar chemistry.

The hypothesis are: foliar chemistry parameters will show predictable interannual variaton in responce to interannual variation in climate and hydrology; mean, species weighted foliar chemistry at the whole stand level will reflect both N and cation status of a stand/watershed, and thus both forest productivity within a climatic zone and the time avaeaged hemistry of the drainage water; foliar chemistry can be measured and mapped, and forest productivity and stream water chemistry predicted, over larger landscape areas using high spectral resolution remote sensing. Objevtives include: Understanding and predicting annual changes in N and cation content of foliage and its interaction with forest production and stream water chemistry for intensive study at Hubard Brook and the Harvard Forest; Measurements of foliar concentrations of N and nutrient cationa at the whole stand level and relate these to forest productivity and soil water chemistry below the rooting zones in 40 plots across the northeastern U.S.: and Developmeent and testing of algorithms for predicting forest productivity and stream water chemistry across the White Moutain region from high spectral remote sensing data and compar estimated soil water chemistry with measured soil water chemistry for 42 watersheds within the region.


The region to be used is the White Mountain National Forest Area. At both intensive sites and regional subsample level, data will be collectd on foliiar chemistry, soil water chemistry and forest production.The intensive data will be used n conjunction with long term data sets to begin an analysis of the factors contollomg interannual variation in foliar and soil water chemistry. The regional subsample data (40 plots) will be used to develope quantitative relationships between foliar chemistry , forest production and soil wate chemistry. On-going remote sensing work will be extendedto test the potential for cation content measurment of whole forest canopiesby high spectral resolution remote sencing, and validation of generated maps against measurements of stream water chemistry in 42 steams will occur. Expected Results: The proposed research will establish the linkage between foliar chemistry and the process of controlling forest growth, element loss, and stream water chemistry, and the methods by which remote sensing can be used to predict canopy chemistry. This program would then establish the scientific basis for developing a satelite -or aircraft vased remote sensing program for monitouring forest health and stream water quality.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 16 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

forest ecosystem, primary production, nitrogen, indicator, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, Ecology, Water & Watershed, exploratory research environmental biology, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Chemical Mixtures - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecosystem Protection, Chemistry, Forestry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Agronomy, Watersheds, Ecological Indicators, remote sensing, soil water chemistry, biogeochemical indicators, climate change impact, forest ecosystems, hydrological, stream ecosystems, stream water chemistry, aquatic ecosystems, water quality, forested watershed, foliar chemistry, climate variability

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • Final Report