|B.A., University of Montana, Botany, 1981; M.F., Duke University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Resource Systems Science, 1983; Ph.D., University of Montana, Forest management and Economics, 1987
Research addresses questions in four areas:
Integrated Forest Science and Synthesis. New research is focused on cross disciplinary research to address complex socio-ecological problems. Despite recognition of the critical importance of understanding the relationships between people and forests, integrating ecological and socioeconomic sciences to answer cutting edge science questions has remained an elusive challenge. Over the past forty years, forest science has evolved from more traditional “forestry” science with a near exclusive focus on enhancing forest productivity to a science that must address much broader and more complex topics such as environmental assessment and monitoring, sustainability, and climate change and variability. The linkage between ecological and socioeconomic systems requires that research questions address interactions between forests and people, both how people manage forests and how society derives essential ecosystem services from forests. Effective resource, environmental, and energy policies and forest management strategies will increasingly rely on this kind of knowledge.
Forecasting forest conditions in the United States. Research identifies how land use and forest management combine with climate changes, and other factors to reshape forests in all regions of the United States. These forecasts can then used to derive estimates of changes in the flows of ecosystem services. In particular, research is investigating how these factors have altered forest conditions as defined by fine scale (plot and tree-level) observations in the FIA data base. Previous research by the incumbent has focused on forecasting many of the driving variables. Ongoing research is testing for the relationships between forces of change and observed transitions in FIA plot conditions. By forecasting change at the finest levels of observation in the inventory, the highest possible degree of detail is brought forward in the forecasts for subsequent interdisciplinary analysis.
Multiple Scale Analysis of Land Use. Research identifies how topography, resource and agricultural markets, and demographic factors organize land use across specific landscapes. Major objectives are to: (1) test hypotheses regarding the relative influences of market value, population growth, and other factors on land use decisions, (2) develop models of land use change, (3) test the predictive performance of models using historical data, and (4) develop forecasts of future land uses. Research is needed to support (1) regional assessments of ongoing development and (2) fine scale analysis of the ecological implications of land use changes.
Forest sustainability, investments, and productivity. Research seeks to understand how forest investment and harvesting jointly affect the long-run production potential of a forested region. Research foci include: (1) studying the factors that motivate forest investment, (2) linking investment to timber supply in a common analytical framework, (3) comparing production behavior across ownership types and subregions, and (4) developing measures for evaluating forest productivity and sustainability in terms of forest value. The overall objective of this research area is to develop tools for assessing changes in forest productivity and inventories, and forecasting potential production and inventory changes in specific places.