Novel Forest Research Initiative

 

I am developing generalizable insights about how forest landscapes reorganize with accelerating climate change

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Environmental drivers acting on local ecological processes are causing rates of change in many forest landscapes to accelerate. This is important in part because human wellbeing depends on services provisioned in landscapes. Thus, understanding how and when future landscape changes will occur and how to avoid undesirable outcomes are among the biggest challenges facing ecologists today.

I was awarded an Earth Institute postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University to advance theory on how cross-scale interactions shape trajectories of forest-landscape change and the nature of transient dynamics in reorganizing systems dominated by long-lived organisms. I am conducting process-based simulations of interior Alaskan forest landscapes to address the following questions:

Question 1 (Reorganization): How might new tree species colonize boreal forest landscapes, as climate change initiates range shifts, and what are the consequences of changing community composition for biogeochemical cycling and disturbance regimes?

Question 2 (Scaling and feedbacks): How do changes in regional climate regulation emerge across different trajectories of forest-landscape change, and what are the forest processes that underpin broadscale outcomes?