Understanding Ecosystem Response to Perturbation: The Need to Combine Long-Term Monitoring with Process-Based Research Across Spatial and Temporal Scales

Monday, 15 December 2014: 11:50 AM
Hjalmar Laudon, SLU Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Umeå, Umeå, Sweden
The societal needs for understanding ecosystems response to environmental perturbation have never been greater. Most research on the mechanisms that regulate long-term changes in water quality is based either on individual well-studied catchments, or regional monitoring datasets. While the advantage of research catchments often is the large amount of ancillary information that can provide mechanistic explanations, the results are often difficult to extrapolate because of limited statistical and geographic representation. Conversely, environmental monitoring sites often lack the process-based designed data collection, which instead makes it difficult to infer causal relationships. Here I will discuss the value of field research infrastructures sites that combine the best of long-term monitoring time-series with the exclusivity of process-based research infrastructures across multiple spatial and temporal scales. The basis for this presentation will be on the Krycklan Catchment Study (www.slu.se/Krycklan) located in northern Sweden that provides a unique field experimental platform for hillslope to landscape-scale research on long-term ecosystem dynamics in the boreal landscape. The site is designed for processes-based research needed to assess the role of external drivers such as forest management, climate change, and long-range transport of pollutants on forests, mires, soils, streams, lakes and groundwater. In my presentation I will discuss some examples of how Krycklan has succeeded to construct a state-of-the-art field infrastructure for experimental and hypothesis driven research, maintain the long-term climatic, biogeochemical, hydrological and environmental data collection of highest quality, and how this has supported the development of new models and guidelines for research, policy and management.