Hemlock woolly adelgid impacts on community structure and N cycling rates in eastern hemlock forests

Academic Article


  • Mortality of dominant tree species caused by introduced pests and pathogens have been among the most pervasive and visible impacts of humans on eastern U.S. forests in the 20th century, yet little is known about the ecosystem-level consequences of these invasions. In this study we quantified the impacts of the introduced hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand) on community structure and ecosystem processes in eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr.) forests in southern New England. Data were collected at six hemlock-dominated sites spanning a continuum from 0 to 99% mortality. Light availability to the understory and seedling regeneration both increased in stands affected by the adelgid. Differences in soil organic matter, total C, and total N pools between infested and noninfested sites were not associated with hemlock decline. Net N mineralization, nitrification, and N turnover increased at sites experiencing hemlock mortality. Inorganic N availability and nitrification rates increased dramatically with adelgid infestation and hemlock mortality, suggesting that nitrate leaching is likely in regions experiencing hemlock mortality. In the longer term, ecosystem processes at infested stands are likely to be driven by the successional dynamics that follow hemlock mortality.
  • Authors

  • Jenkins, JC
  • Aber, John
  • Canham, CD
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 1999
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 630
  • End Page

  • 645
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 5