I spent a summer as a statistics intern for the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest research lab with Ashley Steel, Dave D’Amore, and Paul Hennon (now retired), helping to analyze data on a long-term chronosequence of young growth forest stands over Southeast Alaska to understand the impact of thinning on carbon sequestration. All logging in the region has traditionally been on old growth forests, but managers are working to transition this effort onto stands that were previously logged. This means understanding dynamics of young growth stands is important to optimize management. We found that while pre-commercial thinning may increase growth rates of individual trees, on the stand level it has no increase on total tree biomass. In fact, carbon accretion rates were slightly lower in the most heavily thinned stands. I had the opportunity to present the results of this work to directors of the Tongass National Forest in Juneau.
I received funding to continue some of this work as a small part of my dissertation. The previous results were constrained by a large amount of uncertainty. I was interested in both reducing this uncertainty with landscape and climate information (spoiler: it didn’t work), and understanding the relative contribution of different sources of uncertainty.
D’Amore, D.V, K.L. Oken, P. Herendeen, E.A. Steel, and P.E. Hennon. (2015) Carbon accretion in unthinned and thinned young-growth forest stands of the Alaskan perhumid coastal temperate rainforest. Carbon Balance and Management. 10:25. (link)
K.L. Oken, E.A. Steel, and D.V. D’Amore. Uncertainty in and drivers of forest stand productivity in young growth temperate rainforests of Southeast Alaska. (Still in prep, but find a version in my dissertation)
International Statistical Ecology Conference, Seattle, WA, 2016
U.S. Forest Service Director’s Meeting, Tongass National Forest, Juneau, AK, 2014