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Scientists & Staff

Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy

Ecological and Economic Sustainability of the Appalachian Forest in an Era of Globalization
Research Forester
P.O. Box 404
Parsons, WV 26287
Phone: 304-478-2000 x114
Contact Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy


Current Research

  • Fire regimes of the central Appalachians
  • Central Appalachian silviculture
  • Fire as a silvicultural tool in oak forests
  • Witness trees of the Monongahela National Forest
  • Red spruce recovery and restoration

Research Interests

I hope to continue to work at two scales, stand and landscape, as I build a body of work that includes both traditional silviculture and landscape ecology. I am interested in carrying on the long-term silvicultural studies of the Fernow Experimental Forest. I am also interested in the use of prescribed fire as a silvicultural tool to aid in oak regeneration and as a landscape-scale disturbance.

Why This Research is Important

Use of prescribed fire likely to increase and knowledge of fire history will help in determining where to return this disturbance regime.

In a part of the country without the benefit of General Land Office surveys, witness trees represent a snap-shot in time of species distributions. I hope to use the GIS based witness tree database to describe and categorize land-vegetation relationships of the area. Red spruce forests support rare species and are in slow recovery from era of exploitative forestry. Monongahela Forest Plan places emphasis on recovery and restoration of red spruce and spruce-hardwood forests. Research is needed to help define and achieve goals.

Education

  • West Virginia University, Ph.D. Forest Resources Sciences, 2011
  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, MS resource management/silviculture, 1992
  • Davis and Elkins College, BS pre-forestry, 1989

Professional Organizations

  • Society Of American Foresters West Virginia Chapter, Vice Chair (2011 - Current)

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Publications & Products


Last updated on : 06/20/2014