Synthesizing Data on Stream Flow and Chemistry at Research Watersheds to Assess Effects of Atmospheric Deposition and Environmental Change
Stephen D. Sebestyen
USDA Forest Service
Grand Rapids, MN 55744 USA
Watershed studies in the Experimental Forest and Range Network of the USDA Forest Service and of other institutions span the USA. These sites encompass gradients of forest types, climate, atmospheric deposition, and disturbance regimes. Long-term data on stream flow and chemistry at these sites are: 1) important records of climate, hydrology, and ecosystem productivity, and 2) instrumental in quantifying how diverse ecosystems respond to disturbances. Findings from sitebased research document ecosystem conditions, identify environmental problems, and provide evidence of management decisions that have been effective solutions. Moving beyond individual site analyses, a group of scientists are synthesizing data from research watersheds throughout the USA to evaluate ecosystem responses to climate change, atmospheric deposition, natural disturbance, and forest management practices to gain a broader understanding at national and global scales. In this talk, I will give an overview of watershed data that are critical to documenting environmental disturbance effects on water flow and chemistry, including tracers that are providing new insight on the effects of atmospheric pollutants on forest and water resources as well as summarize the research directions that we are pursuing as part of the synthesis project.