NCEAS Project 12218

Slow systems and complex data-sets: Multi-decade permanent plots permit address of recalcitrant questions about late-successional forests

  • Kerry D. Woods

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Sabbatical Fellow10th November 2008—30th April 2009Participant List  

Long-standing (and often conflicting) hypotheses about processes in late-successional forest communities remain effectively untested because existing data-sets are inadequate for analysis of very slow processes. Usual approaches are of limited power because they employ assumption laden indirect methods or data-sets of low precision and resolution. Large, multi-decade, spatially explicit data from systems of permanent plots in old-growth forests in Michigan afford the potential for rigorous address of a range of important but recalcitrant questions. Are community and population processes stabilizing and convergent, or non-equilibrial and historically contingent? Is diversity maintained by equilibrial or non-equilibrial processes? How do frequency and scale of different types of disturbance interact with population dynamics and interactions? Are tree growth and biomass accumulation related to diversity? How do spatial and temporal scale and resolution affect answers to these questions? The data-set, while uniquely appropriate for assessing these questions, is also very complex - irregular in structure and complexly stratified in time and space - posing daunting methodological challenges. This project has two general goals that will make use of the distinctive resources and mission of NCEAS. First, I hope to collaborate with NCEAS staff and guests in developing and applying models and analytic approaches appropriate to these research questions and commensurate with the properties of the data set (I particularly hope to establish ongoing collaborations). Second, I hope to make this data-set available to the larger community of researchers by archiving it in the NCEAS data repository and developing structures for continual updating as new layers of data are acquired.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article De Frenne, Pieter; Rodriguez-Sanchez, Francisco; Coomes, David A.; Baeten, Lander; Verstraeten, Gorik; Vellend, Mark; Bernhardt-Römermann, Markus; Brown, Carissa D.; Brunet, Jorg; Cornelis, Johnny; Decocq, Guillaume M.; Dierschke, Hartmut; Eriksson, Ove; Gilliam, Frank S.; Hedl, Radim; Heinken, Thilo; Hermy, Martin; Hommel, Patrick; Jenkins, Michael A.; Kelly, Daniel L.; Kirby, Keith J.; Mitchell, Fraser J.G.; Naaf, Tobias; Newman, Miles; Peterken, George; Petrik, Petr; Schultz, Jan; Sonnier, Grégory; Van Calster, Hans; Waller, Donald M.; Walther, Gian-Reto; White, Peter S.; Woods, Kerry D.; Wulf, Monika; Graae, Bente J.; Verheyen, Kris. 2013. Microclimate moderates plant responses to macroclimate warming. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Pages 1-5. (Online version)
Data Set Woods, Kerry D. 2009. Multi-decade, spatially explicit population studies of canopy dynamics in Michigan old-growth forests. Ecology. Vol: 90(12). Pages 3587.
Journal Article Woods, Kerry D.; Hicks, David J.; Schultz, Jan. 2012. Losses in understory diversity over three decades in an old-growth cool-temperate forest in Michigan, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne de Recherche Forestier. Vol: 42. Pages 532-549. (Online version)
Data Set Woods, Kerry D. 2012. Multi-decade population studies of Michigan old-growth forests. (Online version)
Presentations Woods, Kerry D. 2013. Demographic responses to a severe disturbance in an old-growth northern hardwood forest. Ecological Society of America annual meeting, Minneapolis, MN, 6 Aug 2013.