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Measuring Environmental Change in Forest Ecosystems by Repeated Soil Sampling: A North American Perspective

Authors: 
Lawrence, G. B., Fernandez, I. J., Richter, D. D., Ross, D. S., Hazlett, P. W., Bailey, S. W., Ouimet, R., Warby, R. A. F., Johnson, A. H., Lin, H., Kaste, J. M., Lapenis, A. G., Sullivan, T. J.
Year: 
2 013
Source: 
Journal of Environmental Quality
Abstract: 
Environmental change is monitored in North America through repeated measurements of weather, stream and river flow, air and water quality, and most recently, soil properties. Some skepticism remains, however, about whether repeated soil sampling can effectively distinguish between temporal and spatial variability, and efforts to document soil change in forest ecosystems through repeated measurements are largely nascent and uncoordinated. In eastern North America, repeated soil sampling has begun to provide valuable information on environmental problems such as air pollution. This review synthesizes the current state of the science to further the development and use of soil resampling as an integral method for recording and understanding environmental change in forested settings. The origins of soil resampling reach back to the 19th century in England and Russia. The concepts and methodologies involved in forest soil resampling are reviewed and evaluated through a discussion of how temporal and spatial variability can be addressed with a variety of sampling approaches. Key resampling studies demonstrate the type of results that can be obtained through differing approaches. Ongoing, large-scale issues such as recovery from acidification, long-term N deposition, C sequestration, effects of climate change, impacts from invasive species, and the increasing intensification of soil management all warrant the use of soil resampling as an essential tool for environmental monitoring and assessment. Furthermore, with better awareness of the value of soil resampling, studies can be designed with a long-term perspective so that information can be efficiently obtained well into the future to address problems that have not yet surfaced.
EES Authors: 
Arthur H. Johnson

Department of Earth and Environmental Science / University of Pennsylvania, 251 Hayden Hall, 240 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316