Our primary goal is to understand the interactions and the feedbacks by which human decisions
and forest ecosystems influence each other. We are using the Community Land Model (CLM) to predict tree mortality due to droughts, fires, and insect attacks.
We also focus our efforts on the coupling between CLM and economic models to elucidate the interactions and feedbacks among climate, tree mortality, and
economic factors. To our knowledge, this work represents the first effort to couple state-of-the-art earth system models and economic models in which each
provides feedback to the other year by year. These advances should help to understand the relationship between land-use decisions and vulnerability of forests to mortality.
Figure: Attacks on Forests in the Study Region from Beetles and Fires
Currently, we are working on:
- Predictions of the integrated vulnerability of forests to mortality from multiple causes (including beetle attacks) in western
- Evalutation of the ability of thinning scenarios to reduce tree mortality at a regional scale.
- Evalutation of the impacts of future mortality and harvest scenarios on timber production, on carbon sequestration, and on the exchanges of carbon, water, and energy
between a region and the atmosphere.
An important goal of the proposed research is to identify policies and management
strategies that can preserve forest function. The linked set of models will provide an invaluable policy
analysis tool as it projects the impacts of adaptive management, climate change, and disturbances on
forest ecosystems and economic sustainability. The project will emphasize cross-model policy impacts;
e.g., the ecological impacts of economic policies and the economic impacts of ecological policies. The
team plans to evaluate the impact of federal forest adaptive management strategies, the impact of severe
forest mortality on public and private forests, and the impact of market-based incentives designed to alter
private forest management. The chosen scenarios will reflect the interests of land managers, the objectives
of agencies, and actual proposed policies (5-year project supported by NIFA, initiated May 1, 2013).