Catchment-scale intensive and extensive research conducted over the last decade shows that our understanding of the biogeochemical and hydrologic processes in subalpine and alpine basins is not yet sufficiently mature to model and predict how biogeochemical transformations and surface water quality will change in response to climatic or human-driven changes in energy, water, and chemicals. A better understanding of these processes is needed for input to decision-making regulatory agencies and federal land managers. In recognition of this problem the National Research Council  has identified as a critical research need an improved understanding of how global change will affect biogeochemical interactions with the hydrologic cycle and biogeochemical controls over the transport of water, nutrients, and materials from land to freshwater ecosystems. Improved knowledge of alpine and subalpine ecosystems is particularly important since high-elevation catchments are very sensitive to small changes in the flux of energy, chemicals, and water. Furthermore, alpine ecosystems may act as early warning indicators for ecosystem changes at lower elevations.
Additional publication details
Preface (to special section on Recent Loch Vale Watershed research)