Welcome to the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study

At the 8,000-acre Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, long-term studies of air, water, soils, plants, and animals have produced major discoveries about human and natural disturbances to the forested landscape of the northeastern United States. In a collaborative research project spanning nearly six decades, scientists have discovered the existence and origins of acid rain; unlocked the mysteries of lead, salt, and nitrogen pollution in streams and lakes; and charted the rise and fall of bird populations because of climate change and other threats. Research findings at Hubbard Brook provide the raw material for education and policy-outreach programs that deliver authentic data to students, policymakers, and members of the public who care deeply about our natural world. Hubbard Brook is much more than an ecological field station in New Hampshire—it represents a new paradigm of “ecosystem thinking” that has changed the way we understand how nature works.

The Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study is a unique public-private partnership involving the USDA Forest Service, the National Science Foundation’s Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, and scientists from scores of research institutions throughout the country.


News and Highlights

New Mobile Tour App

Take a virtual tour of Hubbard Brook with our new app! The U.S. Forest Service has partnered with OnCell to launch a moble tour app for the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Visitors can use the app for self-guided tours or students and teachers can use the app to prepare for a field trip.

Cues for Masting in Sugar Maple and American Beech

Many tree species exhibit the phenomenon of seed (or fruit) “masting” in which all the trees in a population produce large seed crops in a particular year. For some species this synchronous behavior is thought to favor successful regeneration by saturating seed predators, like squirrels, that also serve as seed dispersal agents – so many seeds are produced in a mast year that the squirrels don’t eat them all. But what cues all the trees in a population to mast synchronously?

An Ice Storm Manipulation Experiment in a Northern Hardwood Forest

ICE STORMS are an important natural disturbance in forest ecosystems of the "ice belt" that covers a broad area extending from east Texas to New England. These glazing events (defined as 0.25 in. of ice accretion or more) are often perceived as rare occurrences, even though the return interval is as short as 2-5 years in the most ice storm prone northeastern U.S. In this region, ice storms are a major cause of forest disturbance.