Globally, soil organic matter (SOM) contains more than three times as much carbon as either the atmosphere or terrestrial vegetation. Yet it remains largely unknown why some SOM persists for millennia whereas other SOM decomposes readily—and this limits our ability to predict how soils will respond to climate change. Recent analytical and experimental advances have… More

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Carbon (C) uptake rates in many forests are sustained, or decline only briefly, following disturbances that partially defoliate the canopy. The mechanisms supporting such functional resistance to moderate forest disturbance are largely unknown. We used a large-scale experiment, in which >6700 Populus (aspen) and Betula (birch) trees were stem-girdled within a 39-ha area, to identify… More

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Much of our biogeochemical understanding of forest disturbances comes from studies of severe or stand-replacing events, which may have different impacts on coupled carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling than subtler disturbances affecting only a fraction of the canopy. We measured a suite of interdependent C and N cycling processes following an experimental disturbance that… More

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