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Scientists & Staff


Richard Birdsey

The Strategic Foresight Group
E-mail: Contact Richard Birdsey
Program Manager
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
Phone: 610-557-4091

Current Research

As manager of the Forest Service's Northern Global Change Research Program, I coordinate a national effort to identify forest management strategies to increase carbon sequestration, and help forests and forest managers adapt to a changing climate. I am the lead investigator on a grant from NASA to help develop decision-support for carbon management. I am a specialist in quantitative methods for large-scale inventory and monitoring programs, and have pioneered the development of methods to estimate national carbon budgets for forest lands from forest inventory data. Recently I have compiled and published estimates of historical and prospective North American forest carbon sources and sinks, and analyzed options for increasing the role of U.S. forests as carbon sinks.

Why This Research is Important

Forest landscapes are changing because of climate, land use, and other environmental changes. These changes affect forest ecosystems that people depend upon for clean air and water, forest products, biological diversity, and recreation. To sustain these ecosystem services, we need to (1) manage our forest resources to provide this array of ecosystem goods and services under increasing environmental stress and a changing climate; (2) determine the current and potential role of northern forests in mitigating climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; storing it in biomass, soils, and wood products; and using biomass as a substitute for fossil fuel; and (3) develop long-term management strategies that optimize the role of northern temperate forests in sequestering carbon while maintaining production of goods and services under increasing threats.


  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, B.S. Anthropology, 1971
  • State University of New York, M.S. World Forestry (Economics), 1975
  • State University of New York, Ph.D. Forest Management (Quantitative Methods), 1989

Professional Organizations

  • Society of American Foresters
  • Ecological Society of America
  • International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO)

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights


Global Forests Sequester One-third of Annual Fossil Fuel Emissions, Much More Than Previously Thought

Forested land plays a much larger role in removing carbon from the atmosphere than was previously thought, according to Forest Service scientist ...


Last updated on : 02/24/2015