Peter Curtis is professor of plant ecology at Ohio State University. He conducts research on ecosystem responses to climate change and directs the Northern Forest Carbon Cycle Research Program in northern lower Michigan based at the University of Michigan Biological Station. He has published widely on ecological responses to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, how climate and land use affect forest carbon storage, and the role biological complexity and ecological resilience can play in aiding our future forests.

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Harvest impacts on soil carbon storage in temperate forests.

Nave, Vance, Swanston & Curtis.
Forest Ecology and Management 259 (2010) pp. 857-866.

In addition to carbon storage in the bodies of trees and other plants, soils also store a significant amount of carbon as part of the overall forest lifecycle. This paper discusses the effects of timber harvesting on stored carbon in temperate forests across the world by re-investigating data from previous studies. Results suggest that most soil types lose carbon as a result of timber harvesting, with hardwood forests being the most affected. However, carbon loss can be mitigated or avoided through the use of different harvesting techniques and site management before and after harvest, as well as through simple passage of time, as carbon loss is never a permanent condition in forest areas. The researchers also suggest that carbon loss can be predicted in advance of timber harvests, allowing forestry officials to manage the potential effects as needed.

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Controls on Annual Forest Carbon Storage: Lessons from the Past and Predictions for the Future.

Gough, Vogel, Schmid, Curtis.
BioScience 58 (2008) pp. 609-622.

Temperate forests in North America play an important role in the global carbon cycle, including the storage of carbon in both trees and the soil - thereby limiting the amount of carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, released into the atmosphere. This study examines how disturbances like fires and logging, as well as changes in tree species and area climate, affect carbon storage in a common forest type as present on a study site in Michigan. The study also suggests further research to inform forestry management decisions that could aid in mitigating climate change through reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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Meet Dr. Peter Curtis

Department Chair
Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology
The Ohio State University
Tel: 614.292.0835
Website: Profile Page

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