The Hubbard Brook Research Foundation supports the world’s leading study of forested ecosystems.
What we do:
The Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF) is a nonprofit organization established in 1993 to support the work of scientists at the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study in central New Hampshire.
“…to promote the understanding and stewardship of ecosystems through scientific research, long-term monitoring and education.”
In its role as friend, HBRF:
- helps provide affordable housing and laboratory facilities to scientists
- works to protect land and other research resources in the valley
- conducts educational programs, tours and lectures
- advocates for continued research funding, especially for long-term ecosystem monitoring;
As a public policy group:
- HBRF uses its Science Links program to bridge the gap between science and public policy, working with Hubbard Brook scientists to communicate the results of their research to government, the media, environmental and other public-interest groups, and the general public in an effort to inform policy decisions.
- Hosts the HBRF Roundtable.
“Science Links and the HBRF Roundtable programs help bridge the gap between ecosystem science and public policy.”
What is the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study?
For 43 years, hundreds of scientists working at the 7,600-hundred acre Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire have studied the ecological patterns and processes that characterize forests in eastern North America, assembling a massive, uninterrupted data record of meteorology, hydrology, biogeochemistry, forest growth, and population dynamics of key wildlife species. Quite simply, what goes on in bowl-shaped Hubbard Brook valley is the longest running, most comprehensive ecosystem study in the world. The continuing ecological record has proven to be invaluable for identifying and helping to solve vexing environmental problems and for pursuing significant new research questions. The variety of scientific endeavors known collectively as the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study has become a world force in ecosystem thinking. View web site for Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study.
Over the years, hundreds of scientists, representing more than 40 universities, government agencies, and other institutions, have conducted research at Hubbard Brook. Over 90 Ph.D. dissertations, 52 Master’s theses, 44 Senior Honors theses, 1,260 scientific papers and numerous books have been published based on studies conducted at Hubbard Brook.
Since precipitation and stream studies were initiated in 1963, scientists have collected more that 40,000 water samples at Hubbard Brook. Each water sample is typically analyzed for 17 different chemical constituents. Monitoring is conducted on a year-round basis with support from the USDA Forest Service, National Science Foundation, and private funding sources. The monitoring program includes, in part:
- A network of meteorological stations and stream-flow gauges, measuring rainfall, snowpack, and stream flow in nine watersheds in the Hubbard Brook valley;
- Chemical analyses of the nutrients and acidity of rain, snow, and stream water;
- Measurements of forest growth and species composition;
- Below-ground measurements of microbial activity, root activity, soil water, and soil;
- Water levels, groundwater flow, water chemistry, and biology in Mirror Lake; and
- Abundances of forest bird, mammal, amphibian, snail, and insect populations.
About the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest:
The Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest is a beautiful, 3,070-hectare (7,600-acre) forest in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire that was set aside by the United States Forest Service in 1955 and dedicated to the long-term study of forest and aquatic ecosystems. The first stream at the forest was fitted with measuring devices in 1956, and since then eight more watersheds have been added to the Study, where water samples, stream flows, soil profiles, and other scientific measurements are taken by Forest Service personnel on a weekly basis. Neatly stacked rows of thousands of water samples are testament to the on-the-ground efforts of countless researchers and technicians over nearly half a century. These samples and other data represent a treasure trove for scientists seeking to understand the long-term changes that occur to forests.
The forest is managed and monitoring is conducted by the year round staff of the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Research Station.
A long term Ecological Research Site:
Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest is one of 24 national Long-Term Ecological Research Site. The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network was established by the National Science Foundation in 1980 to support research on long-term ecological phenomena in the United States. The Network is a collaborative effort involving more than 1800 scientists and students investigating ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. The Network promotes synthesis and comparative research across sites and ecosystems and among other related national and international research programs.