Scientists & Staff
Brian R. Sturtevant
Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies: Theory and Application of Scaling Science in Forestry
5985 Highway K
Current ResearchI am interested in the multi-scale processes affecting the health and function of forested and mixed-use landscapes, and I have focused on three research avenues falling under this broader theme. First, I am investigating the spatial-temporal dynamics and impacts of disturbance by forest insect defoliators, using a combination of remote sensing, pattern analysis, and simulation modeling. Second, I am investigating interactions between natural and human processes as they influence fire dynamics. This research includes analyses of modern fire databases in the upper Midwest, and the simulation of fire disturbance patterns as influenced by human activities, forest management, and insect disturbances. Third, I am working with Canadian scientists to develop a multi-scale toolkit approach to providing information for sustainable forest management across diverse ecological and socioeconomic systems.
Research InterestsI will continue to pursue our understanding of the drivers underlying spatial patterns of insect disturbances, employing technologies from other disciplines including molecular techniques and atmospheric modeling. The effect of climate change on insect disturbance regimes is another key area of research I wish to pursue. Finally, I am interested in how human development patterns will interact with forest disturbances and other ecosystem processes at decade to century time scales.
Why This Research is ImportantInsects cause more economic damage to forest resources in the conterminous United States than any other disturbance, but our understanding of the landscape-scale factors affecting their dynamics is poorly understood. Insight into landscape pattern interacts with the dynamics of forest pests can lead to the design of pest-resistant landscapes through forest management. We also know that humans have enormous influence over the structure and character of our forested land base. Understanding how forested systems respond to human processes will allow managers to better balance multiple and sometimes conflicting objectives for our public lands (e.g., biodiversity, recreation, public safety, water quality, etc.). This new complexity in land management also requires effective decision support tools to enable land managers to make better strategic decisions based on the best available science.
- University of Maryland at College Park, Ph.D. Ecology, 2001
- Utah State University, M.S. Wildlife Ecology, 1996
- Rutgers University, B.S. Natural Resources Management, 1992
- International Association for Landscape Ecology (U.S. Chapter)
- Ecological Society of America
- Society for Conservation Biology
Featured Publications & Products
- Anderson, Dean P.; Sturtevant, Brian R. 2011. Pattern analysis of eastern spruce budworm Choristoneura fumiferana dispersal. Ecography. 34: 488-497.
- James, Patrick M.A.; Fortin, M.-J.; Sturtevant, B.R.; Fall, A.; Kneewhaw, D. 2011. Modeling spatial interactions among fire, spruce budworm, and logging in the boreal rorest. Ecosystems. 14: 60-75.
- Sturtevant, Brian; Achtemeier, Gary; Anderson, Dean; Charney, Joseph; Cooke, Barry. 2011. Long-distance dispersal of eastern spruce budworm in Minnesota (USA) via the atmospheric pathway. In: 26th annual landscape ecology symposium. Sustainability in dynamic landscapes; 2011 April 3-7; Portland, Oregon. U.S. International Association for Landscape Ecology: 112-113. Abstract.
- Gustafson, Eric; Shvidenko, Anatoly; Scheller, Robert; Sturtevant, Brian. 2011. Effectiveness of forest management strategies to mitigate effects of global change in Siberia. In: 26th annual landscape ecology symposium. Sustainability in dynamic landscapes; 2011 April 3-7; Portland, Oregon. U.S. International Association for Landscape Ecology: 71-72. Abstract.
- Gustafson, Eric J.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Shvidenko, Anatoly S.; Scheller, Robert M. 2010. Using landscape disturbance and succession models to support forest management. In: Li, Chao; Lafortezza, Raffaele; Chen, Jiquan. Landscape Ecology in Forest Management and Conservation, Challenges and Solutions for Global Change. Dordrecht, The Netherlands; Springer: 99-118. Chapter 5.
Publications & Products
- Gustafson, Eric J.; De Bruijn, Arjan M.G.; Pangle, Robert E.; Limousin, Jean-Marc; McDowell, Nate G.; Pockman, William T.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Muss, Jordan D.; Kubiske, Mark E. 2015. Integrating ecophysiology and forest landscape models to improve projections of drought effects under climate change. Global Change Biology. 21(2): 843-856.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Miranda, Brian R.; Wolter, Peter T.; James, Patrick M.A.; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Townsend, Philip A. 2014. Forest recovery patterns in response to divergent disturbance regimes in the Border Lakes region of Minnesota (USA) and Ontario (Canada). Forest Ecology and Management. 313: 199-211.
- Kolka, Randy; Sturtevant, Brian; Townsend, Philip; Miesel, Jessica; Wolter, Peter; Fraver, Shawn; DeSutter, Tom. 2014. Post-fire comparisons of forest floor and soil carbon, nitrogen, and mercury pools with fire severity indices. Soil Science Society of America Journal 78: S58-S65.
- Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa A.; Sturtevant, Brian R. 2014. Using scenario modeling for red spruce restoration planning in West Virginia. Journal of Forestry. 112(5): 457-466.
- Brunet, B.M.T.; Doucet, D.; Sturtevant, B.R.; Sperling, F.A.H. 2013. Characterization of EST-based SSR loci in the spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Conservation Genetic Resources. 5: 541-544.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Achtemeier, Gary L.; Charney, Joseph J.; Anderson, Dean P.; Cooke, Barry J.; Townsend, Phillip A. 2013. Long-distance dispersal of spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana Clemens) in Minnesota (USA) and Ontario (Canada) via the atmospheric pathway. Agriculture and Forest Meteorology. 168: 186-200.
- Gustafson, Eric J; Sturtevant, Brian R. 2013. Modeling forest mortality caused by drought stress: implications for climate change. Ecosystems. 16: 60-74.
- Gustafson, Eric J.; Kubiske, Mark E.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Miranda, Brian R. 2013. Scaling Aspen-FACE experimental results to century and landscape scales. Landscape Ecology. 28(9): 1785-1800.
- Doyon, Frederik; Sturtevant, Brian; Papaik, Michael J.; Fall, Andrew; Miranda, Brian; Kneeshaw, Daniel D.; Messier, Christian; Fortin, Marie-Josee.; James, Patrick M.A. 2012. Assessing knowledge ambiguity in the creation of a model based on expert knowledge and comparison with the results of a landscape succession model in central Labrador. Chapter 10.. In: Perera, Ajith H.; Drew, C. Ashton; Johnson, Chris J., eds. Expert Knowledge and Its Application in Landscape Ecology. Springer: 189-210.
- Sturtevant, Brian R; Miranda, Brian R; Shinneman, Douglas J; Gustafson, Eric J; Wolter, Peter T. 2012. Comparing modern and presettlement forest dynamics of a subboreal wilderness: Does spruce budworm enhance fire risk?. Ecological Applications. 22: 1278-1296.
- Robert, Louis-Etienne; Kneeshaw, Daniel; Sturtevant, Brian R. 2012. Effects of forest management legacies on spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) outbreaks. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 42: 463-475.
- Wolter, Peter T.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Miranda, Brian R.; Lietz, Sue M.; Townsend, Phillip A.; Pastor, John. 2012. Forest land cover change (1975-2000) in the Greater Border Lakes region. Research Map NRS-3. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 17 p. [Printed map included].
- Miranda, Brian R; Sturtevant, Brian R; Stewart, Susan I; Hammer, Roger B. 2012. Spatial and temporal drivers of wildfire occurrence in the context of rural development in northern Wisconsin, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 21: 141-154.
- James, Patrick M.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Townsend, Phil; Wolter, Pete; Fortin, Marie-Josee. 2011. Two-dimensional wavelet analysis of spruce budworm host basal area in the Border Lakes landscape. Ecological Applications. 21(6): 2197-2209.
- Fall, Andrew; Sturtevant, B.; Fortin, M.-J.; Papaik, M.; Doyon, F.; Morgan, D.; Berninger, K.; Messier, C. 2010. A practical approach for comparing management strategies in complex forest ecosystems using meta-modelling toolkits. Sustainable Forest Management Network, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. Research Note Series No. 56.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Quinn, V.; Robert, L.E.; Kneeshaw, D.; James, P.; Fortin, M.-J.; Wolter, P.; Townsend, P.; Cooke, B.; Anderson, D. 2010. Can Landscape-scale management influence insect outbreak dynamics? A natural experiment for eastern spruce budworm. In: 7th Annual Research Review Symposium; 2010 Feb 23; Cloquet, MN. UMN Cloquet Forestry Center.
- Foster, Jane; Scheller, Robert; Sturtevant, Brian; Townsend, Phillip; Mladenoff, David. 2010. Forest insect defoliation and carbon dynamics: simulating multiple defoliator outbreaks in mixed deciduous landscapes with LANDIS-II. In: US-IALE 25th annual landscape ecology symposium. Is what humans do natural; 2010 April 5-9; Athens, GA.: 70. Abstract.
- Papaik, Michael J.; Fall, Andrew; Sturtevant, Brian; Kneeshaw, Daniel; Messier, Christian; Fortin, Marie-Josee; Simon, Neal. 2010. Forest processes from stands to landscapes: exploring model forecast uncertainties using cross-scale model comparison. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 40: 2345-2359.
- Gustafson, Eric; Shvidenko, Anatoly D.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Scheller, Robert M. 2010. Predicting global change effects on forest biomass and composition in south-central Siberia. Ecological Applications. 20(3): 700-715. Abstract.
- Sturtevant, Brian. 2010. The politics of forestry [book review]. Landscape Ecology. 25: 981-982.
- Gustafson, Eric J.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Shvidenko, Anatoly Z.; Scheller, Robert M. 2010. Using LANDIS II to study the effects of global change in Siberia. In: 7th Annual Research Review Symposium; 2010 Feb 23; Cloquet, MN. UMN Cloquet Forestry Center.
- Miranda, Brian R.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Yang, Jian; Gustafson, Eric J. 2009. Comparing fire spread algorithms using equivalence testing and neutral landscape models. Landscape Ecology. 24: 587-598.
- Wolter, Peter T.; Townsend, Phillip A.; Sturtevant, Brian R. 2009. Estimation of forest structural parameters using 5 and 10 meter SPOT-5 satellite data. Remote Sensing of Environment. 113: 2019-2036.
- Scheller, Robert M.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Ward, Brendan C.; Mladenoff, David J. 2009. Increasing the reliability of ecological models using modern software engineering techniques. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 8(5): 253-260.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Scheller, Robert M.; Miranda, Brian R.; Shinneman, Douglas.; Syphard, Alexandra. 2009. Simulating dynamic and mixed-severity fire regimes: a process-based fire extension for LANDIS-II. Ecological Modelling. 220: 3380-3393.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Miranda, Brian R.; Yang, Jian; He, Hong S.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Scheller, Robert M. 2009. Studying fire mitigation strategies in multi-ownership landscapes: balancing the management of fire-dependent ecosystems and fire risk. Ecosystems. 12: 445-461.
- Yang, Jian; He, Hong S.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Miranda, Brian R.; Gustafson, Eric J. 2008. Comparing effects of fire modeling methods on simulated fire patterns and succession: a case study in the Missouri Ozarks. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38: 1290-1302.
- Papaik, Michael J.; Sturtevant, Brian; Messier, Christian. 2008. Crossing scales and disciplines to achieve forest sustainability. Ecology and Society. 13(1): online.
- Wolter, Peter T.; Townsend, Philip A.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Kingdon, Clayton C. 2008. Remote sensing of the distribution and abundance of host species for spruce budworm in Northern Minnesota and Ontario. Remote Sensing of Environment. 112: 3971-3982.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Fall, Andrew; Kneeshaw, Daniel D.; Simon, Neal P. P.; Papaik, Michael J.; Berninger, Kati; Doyon, Frederik; Morgan, Don G.; Messier, Christian. 2007. A toolkit modeling approach for sustainable forest management planning: achieving balance between science and local needs. Ecology and Society 12(2):1-12.
- Scheller, Robert M.; Domingo, James B.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Williams, Jeremy S.; Rudy, Arnold; Gustafson, Eric J.; Mladenoff, David J. 2007. Design, development, and application of LANDIS-II, a spatial landscape simulation model with flexible temporal and spatial resolution. Ecological Modelling. 201: 409?419.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Cleland, David T. 2007. Human and biophysical factors influencing modern fire disturbance in northern Wisconsin. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 16: 398-413.
- Seagle, Steven W.; Sturtevant, Brian R. 2005. Forest productivity predicts invertabrate biomass and ovenbird (Seriurus Aurocapillus) reproduction in Appalachian landscapes. Ecology, 86(6), 2005, pp. 1531?1539.
- He, Hong S.; Li, Wei; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Yang, Jian; Shang, Bo Z.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Mladenoff, David J. 2005. LANDIS 4.0 users guide. LANDIS: a spatially explicit model of forest landscape disturbance, management, and succession. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-263. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station. 93 p.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Zoller, Patrick A.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Cleland, David T. 2004. Human influence on the abundance and connectivity of high-risk fuels in mixed forests of northern Wisconsin, USA. Landscape Ecology 19: 235-253.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Zollner, Patrick A.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Cleland, David T. 2004. Human influence on the abundance and connectivity of high-risk fuels in mixed forests of northern Wisconsin, USA. Landscape Ecology 19: 235?253, 2004.
- Gustafson, Eric J.; Zollner, Patrick A.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Hong, S. He; Mladenoff, David J. 2004. Influence of forest management alternatives and land type on susceptibility to fire in northern Wisconsin, USA. Landscape Ecology 19: 327-341, 2004.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Li, Wei; He, Hong S. 2004. Modeling biological disturbances in LANDIS: a module description and demonstration using spruce budworm. Ecological Modelling 180 (2004) 153?174.
- Sturtevant, Brian R.; Gustafson, Eric J.; He, Hong S. 2004. Modeling disturbance and succession in forest landscapes using LANDIS: introduction. Ecological Modelling 180 (2004) 1?5.
- Potts, Robert; Gustafson, Eric; Stewart, Susan I.; Thompson, Frank R.; Bergen, Kathleen; Brown, Daniel G.; Hammer, Roger; Radeloff, Volker; Bengston, David; Sauer, John; Sturtevant, Brian. 2004. The Changing Midwest Assessment: land cover, natural resources, and people. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-250. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station. 87 p.
National Research Highlights
Bird Monitoring in the Western Great Lakes National Forests Shows Stabilized Breeding Bird Populations (2014)
The results from 20 years of forest bird monitoring in four national forests in Minnesota and Wisconsin show positive trends in breeding bird population stability. The new report by Forest Service scientists and partners represents the most comprehensive volume of quantitative information ever compiled on the trends, habitat use, and community assemblages of breeding forest birds of the western Great Lakes region.
Scientists Predict Survivability Factors for Northern Forests Given Elevated CO2 and Ozone Levels (2013)
The researchers scaled up a high-profile 11-year ecosystem experiment called Aspen-FACE to assess how elevated carbon dioxide and ozone levels might impact real forests at the landscape scale over the course of many future decades. They determined that there will be winners and losers among species and within species groups but that managers can have considerable control over the outcomes by managing disturbance effects on forests and landscape spatial patterns. The researchers also found that changes will be gradual and that few species are likely to disappear completely because of carbon dioxide and ozone effects alone.
Spruce Budworm Effects on Fire Risk and Vegetation in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (2012)
Insect-killed trees do not necessarily increase fire risk