I am an ecologist and remote sensing specialist interested in forest dynamics, disturbance interactions, and wildfire, at multiple scales. My current research links wildfire ignition to the costs, consequences of human-started wildfire across the contiguous USA, specifically in and around the wildland-urban interface (WUI).
My research leverages field based data collection, remotely sensed image analysis, and modeling procedures to understand current and future wildfire at the local, regional, and sub-continental level. Prior research has explored the complex interactions between forest disturbance, varying climatic conditions, and their influence on the abundance of forest fuels and fire behavior in subalpine ecosystems in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, western North America, and the Swiss Alps.
PhD in Geography, 2016
MA in Geography, 2015
MSc. in Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment, 2013
BSc in Earth System Science, 2009
University of Maine, Orono
I have taught the following course in Clark University’s Geography undergraduate education program:
The consequences (fire frequency, burned area, seasonality) and costs (suppression costs, homes destroyed, lives lost) of human vs. lightning-started wildfires, along a gradient from the WUI to wildland areas across the conterminous U.S. (2001-2015).
The changes to fuels following spruce beetle outbreaks are strongly contingent on pre-outbreak stand structure and disturbance history. For instance, we found that spruce beetle outbreaks reduce canopy fuels in all stands, yet this effect is relatively minor in old spruce-fir stands as compared to young spruce-fir stands. Spruce beetle outbreaks during the 20th and 21st century decreased canopy fuels and increased their heterogeneity, regardless of pre-outbreak conditions. Surface fuel loads were more variable with increased time since spruce beetle outbreak and did not return to pre-outbreak conditions over the 75-year period considered in this study in both young and old stands.
Despite widespread concern that mountain pine beetle outbreaks lead to unprecedented increases in wildfire activity, here we demonstrated minimal effects of these pre-fire disturbances on subsequent fire occurrence. Instead, occurrence of large wildfires across the western US has been driven by extreme weather (e.g., hot, dry conditions).