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Marie-Louise Smith

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Washington, District of Columbia
Phone: 202-205-1030

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Current Research

My research interests span a range of topics within the field of forest ecology including carbon and nitrogen cycling, forest productivity and succession, and plant-site interactions. My current research is aimed at characterizing and scaling patterns of nutrient status, carbon storage and exchange, composition and structure in forest ecosystems. I am particularly interested in methods that combine use of field measurements, remote sensing, and process modeling. These investigations include:

  • Integration of high-spectral resolution remote sensing with continental-scale earth observation satellites and field measurements from the FLUXNET and NACP research programs.

Funding: NASA Carbon Cycle Science Program.

  • Linking Landscape-Scale Carbon Monitoring with Forest Management.

Funding: NASA Carbon Cycle Science &USDA Forest Service Northern Global Change Program.

  • Complex interactions among water, nutrients and carbon stocks and fluxes across a natural fertility gradient in tropical rainforest.

Funding: National Science Foundation, Biocomplexity Program.

Why This Research is Important

The most fundamental questions of environmental change (e.g. impacts of pollution, climate change, land-use change, deforestation, etc.) are often assessed by evaluating change in function of ecosystems. Change in how forest ecosystems store and cycle carbon (C) is reflected in measures of growth and productivity. Forest ecosystems in northern latitudes are acting as a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), and sink strength is thought to be especially strong in the northeastern US. At present, large uncertainties exist about both the magnitude and the spatial distribution of this sink, as well as the underlying mechanisms responsible. Attribution of the causes, and better resolution of the magnitude, of C sink strength for forest landscapes -- especially whether these mechanisms are ?natural? or ?human-induced? as a result of current or past land-use and management -- is a critical task for researchers and policymakers alike.


  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, Ph.D. Natural Resources, 2000
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, M.S. Forestry, 1992
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, B.S. Natural Resources, 1989

Professional Experience

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor Natural Resources and Earth System Science Doctoral Program,University of New Hampshire
  • Affiliate Assistant Professor Department of Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire

Professional Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America, American Geophysical Union

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Last updated on : 08-May-2015