The great challenge now facing forest ecosystem scientists and managers is to address the need for multiple ecosystem services over relatively large spatial and temporal scales (e.g., whole national forests over 50- to 100-year time frames). Here we present a new conceptual model for the study of forest ecosystems that aids in the analysis of factors that influence ecosystem structure, function, and services. We then go on to show how this model has been applied to the long-term Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study. Our new model has three main components: (1) controllers, (2) ecosystem pattern and process, and (3) ecosystem functions and services. The controllers are the factors that drive ecosystem pattern and process; we split them into two groups, state factors and variable–stochastic factors. This new model will help to ensure a comprehensive approach to forest ecosystem analysis and will facilitate interactions of research with policy and management at many locations.
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