Reconstructing the biogeochemical consequences of disturbances

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Abstract

Paleo Reconstructions of Biogeochemical Environments (PROBE) Workshop;Manhattan, Kansas; 19–21 April 2012 Disturbances—discrete events that reduce plant biomass—commonly regulate material and energy flow in terrestrial ecosystems. Recent studies document an increase in the size and/or severity of disturbances such as native bark beetle outbreaks and large fires compared to the recent past. However, scientists cannot evaluate the potential consequences of these events for ecosystem dynamics without decadal to multimillennial records of disturbances and ecosystem response. The Paleo Reconstructions of Biogeochemical Environments (PROBE) workshop brought together ecosystem ecologists and paleoecologists for a 3-day workshop at the Konza Prairie Biological Station in Manhattan, Kansas. The focus of the meeting was the reconstruction of the biogeochemical consequences of disturbances (e.g., beetle outbreaks, wildfires, windstorms, and droughts) on different timescales, the assessment of the state of current knowledge, and identification of challenges and opportunities for future research.

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