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Woodall in northern MN

Christopher W. Woodall

Project Leader, Research Forester
Center for Research on Ecosystem Change
271 Mast Road
Durham, New Hampshire 03824-0640
Phone: 603-868-7638

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Current Research

As a project leader I provide scientific leadership for a cadre of dedicated scientists and staff involved in the development of forest science and related applications that improve our understanding, monitoring, and management of northern forest ecosystems from Maine to Minnesota.  A number of world-class research forests are maintained by this research unit that provide a plethora of opportunities for engaging partners (states, universities, NGOs) in research of mutual interest.

Research Interests

In addition to my leadership of the research unit, impactful research assigned to me includes refining our quantification and understanding of the role of forest dead wood in forest stand dynamics, production, and carbon cycles.  In addition to dead wood exploration, I investigate the refinement of forest stand dynamics metrics, such as stocking indices, to accomodate emerging theories of tree functional traits and related stand development processes.  Finally, as a former Forest Inventory and Analysis scientist and Lead Scientist of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory of US Forests, I identify ways to upscale research results from experimental forests to the population level with a focus on forest carbon accounting and management.

Why This Research is Important

My research, leadership, and analyses fill critical information needs regarding forest ecosystems to the general public, resource managers, scientists, policy makers, economists, and a wide range of other natural resource specialists. Success in this mission is crucial to assessing the sustainability of not only forest ecosystems in the northern United States, but also the health of our Nation's forests. Research outputs provide Forest Service customers and clients with crucial information and provide improved techniques for data application to a range of resource inventory and monitoring needs (e.g., national carbon stock assessment and national forest stand relative density).


  • University of Montana, Ph.D. Silviculture, 2000
  • University of Montana, M.S. Silviculture, 1997
  • Clemson University, B.S. Forestry, 1995

Professional Experience

  • Adjunct Professor of Forestry University of Minnesota
    2008 - Current

Professional Organizations

  • Forest Science, Associate Editor (2010 - Current)
  • American Geophysical Union, Affiliate Member (2002 - Current)
  • Ecological Society of America, Affiliate Member (2000 - Current)
  • Society of American Foresters, Affiliate Member (1991 - Current)

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Analysis Reveals Cyclical and Structural Changes in Forest Products Industry (2012)
Structural changes may be difficult to reverse but prospects for growth exist in forest product exports and wood-based biorefining

Better Estimates of Carbon Inventory in Dead Wood Now Available (2013)
Researchers with the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program have sampled downed and dead woody material (DWM) since 2002 so most U.S. states now have a complete cycle of DWM data. As a result, for the first time, researchers used field measurements to obtain estimates of DWM biomass and carbon stocks for the FIA program's report and for DWM carbon estimates in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory report.

Can Tree Species Rapidly Adapt to Climate Change by Migrating? (2013)
New techniques to monitor tree ranges in forests of the eatern U.S. suggest that current ranges may not be shifting along their range margins in response to current climate change.

First Inventory of Standing Dead Trees Across the United States Developed (2012)
Study compares differences between previously modeled estimates and new empirical estimates

If a Tree Falls in a Forest, How Long Does It Lie There (2014)
Dead wood is critical to nutrient cycling, carbon dynamics, tree regeneration, wildlife habitat, and wildfire behavior in forests. Forest Service scientists conducted one of the first large-scale studies of downed dead wood decay rates and found that the residence time of dead wood was dependent on the size of dead wood, its species, and climate in which it resides across forests of the eastern United States. Large pieces of dead conifer wood in high-latitude climates may reside for over 100 years in forests before completely decaying and disintegrating.

New Tree Volume and Biomass Estimation Procedures Implemented for the Yearly U.S. National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (2012)
New procedures have improved the accuracy, reliability, and transparency of the U.S. National Greenhouse Gas Inventory of U.S. forests and biomass assessments

Risk Matrix Highlights Knowledge Gaps in Forest Carbon Stocks (2013)
Forest Service scientists propose a basic approach to assess global change risks to forest carbon stocks in the U.S., which builds on the current U.S. forest inventory coupled with current and projected climatic regions

Last updated on : 14-Oct-2016