About Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies: Theory and Application of Scaling Science in Forestry
Research Work Unit NRS-13
Our mission is to develop the theory and application of scaling science to provide knowledge at relevant scales in forestry. Knowledge of cause and effect relationships enables scientists to make predictions about the response of organisms to various environmental impacts. However, science based management of natural resources requires that information at the local level be scaled so that we can make predictions about impacts on ecosystems and landscapes. To expand the use of site-level research for policy and management, we must develop and apply improved scaling techniques. Society will benefit from our research as natural resource decisions are improved or optimized.
The shortage of knowledge about applying site-level experimental findings to larger land areas can be very expensive to the public and private sectors. Resulting costs include ineffective investment, opportunity cost, and even the loss of human lives. For example, a community’s risk of catastrophic wildfire cannot be predicted by individual fire behavior studies. Similarly, large insect defoliator outbreaks cannot be controlled without a landscape perspective. Other examples where the stakes are in the hundreds of millions of dollars include the optimal de novo deployment of regional bioenergy and fiber plantations and the applications of the results of experiments in global atmospheric change to forest management and policy over large land masses.
Customers for these research results include federal, state, and local governments, governmental and non-governmental policymakers, air quality regulators, the forest products and energy industries, private investors, forest managers and consultants, farmers and other land owners, conservation and environmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, and scientists. Even though the basic research here is cutting edge, it is likely that the science will provide solutions to important applied problems, including the development of a cellulose-based bioenergy industry, a priority at the highest levels of government.
Institute Research Focus Areas
- Energy, climate, and tree genetics for managing forest ecosystems
- Climate change impacts on terrestrial ecosystems at multiple scales
- Spatial and temporal dynamics of landscape ecological processes
- Innovative scaling concepts and tools
Collaborative Research Programs
Last Modified: 02/15/2013