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Integrated watershed ecosystem studies in National Parks or equivalent reserves suggest that effects of external processes on 'protected' resources are subtle, chronic, and long-term. Ten years of data from National Park watersheds suggests that temperature and precipitation changes are linked to nitrogen levels in lakes and streams. We envision measurable biotic effects in these remote watersheds, if expected climate trends continue. The condition of natural resources within areas set aside for preservation are difficult to ascertain, but gaining this knowledge is the key to understanding ecosystem change and of processes operating among biotic and abiotic ecosystem components. There is increasing evidence that understanding the magnitude of variation within and between such processes can provide an early indication of environmental change and trends attributable to human-induced stress. The following four papers are case studies of how this concept has been implemented. These long-term studies have expanded our knowledge of ecosystem response to natural and human-induced stress. The existence of these sites with a commitment to gathering 'long-term' ecosystem-level data permits research activities aimed at testing more important hypotheses on ecosystem processes and structure.
Additional Publication Details
Long-term watershed research and monitoring to understand ecosystem change in parks and equivalent reserves
Journal of the American Water Resources Association