Graduate Student Research Assistantship ~

17 de septiembre de 2004

Graduate Student Research Assistantship

Please see the announcement and research abstract below. Intersted parties should contact Dr. Amy Hessl -- information below.
Don McKenzie, Fire and Landscape Ecologist
Fire and Environmental Research Applications (FERA) Team Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab, USDA Forest Service 400 N 34th St, Suite 201 Seattle, WA 98103, USA
(206) 732-7824; cell (206) 321-5966
fax (206) 732-7801
Graduate Student Research Assistantship
Department of Geology and Geography
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV
MS or PhD student is wanted to assist with an NSF-sponsored terrestrial carbon sequestration study using tree rings and USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data. The student will perform one season of fieldwork in the Fernow Experimental Forest, West Virginia to describe the recent history of primary productivity in watersheds with different forest management histories. Student will also assist with analysis of FIA data. This is an interdisciplinary project that will require the student to collaborate with ecologists and econometric modelers to investigate the relationships between human institutions and ecosystem processes (see proposal abstract below).
Applicant should have a demonstrated interest in terrestrial carbon dynamics, tree rings, ecosystem studies, or human-environment relations. In addition, fieldwork experience, knowledge of database software and/or knowledge of eastern deciduous forests would be helpful.
Two years (four semesters) of funding are available for either a MS
($1037/mo) or a PhD ($1394/mo) student. Student would begin June 2005. Student tuition ($3564 [resident] or $10,016 [non-resident]) will be waived. In addition, the student may compete for a one-time salary cap of up to $3000 from the WVU College of Arts and Sciences. To supplement the research assistantship, applicants may also compete (and will likely be
competitive) for one of several teaching assistant positions available in the department.
Morgantown, West Virginia is approximately 1.5 hours south of Pittsburgh, PA and approximately 3.5 hours west of Washington DC. With approximately 25,000 residents plus 22,000 university students, Morgantown is an award winning “micropolitan” and has great restaurants, entertainment and fantastic recreation including hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and climbing within <1 hour of town.
Please send a resume/C.V. or contact Dr. Amy Hessl for more information: Amy Hessl Department of Geology and Geography West Virginia University Box 6300 Morgantown, WV 26506 304-293-5603 ext. 4344
Observed warming at the Earth’s surface has raised concerns about the effects of increased carbon dioxide in the global environment, and understanding the role of forests as potential carbon sinks is becoming a national and global priority. The objective of this project is to investigate the role of recent past, current, and future land use change on carbon dynamics in eastern deciduous forests of North America. Eastern deciduous forests may have played a major role in past carbon dioxide uptake due to regrowth following major cutting at the turn of the century. Current rates of timber harvest in eastern deciduous forests are high, so future land use and cover changes may again affect carbon cycling. These forests are managed under a diverse set of public and private management regimes, with each group possessing different motivations for land management and potentially responding differently to economic incentives. The project’s research questions address the interactions between human activities (forest management) and an ecosystem process (carbon
sequestration) in temperate deciduous forests of West Virginia: 1) How do carbon stocks differ between forests with different land use practices? 2) How have changes in land management (1989-2000) affected carbon stocks, and what were the human drivers of this land use change? 3) How might the ability of central hardwood forests to store carbon change under future conditions? To address these research questions, an ecosystem model
(Pnet-CN) will be calibrated and validated at two spatial scales (watershed and state). At the watershed level, PnET-CN will be calibrated for four management treatments: mature forest, young forest, and two types of diameter limit cuts. At the state level, PnET-CN will be run for 1989 and 2000 at USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plot locations classified by management strategy to match those of the experimental watersheds. This model of productivity will be linked to an econometric model that investigates correlations between land-use/land-management categories and their potential drivers, using FIA plot data combined with information on plot accessibility, management regime, and local hardwood timber prices. The econometric model will be coupled with the ecosystem model to conduct scenario analysis linking changes in drivers of land use and cover change to changes in carbon storage. Scenarios holding drivers of land use and cover change fixed, but varying climate parameters, will also be developed.
Understanding the human causes of land use and cover change and their consequences for the carbon cycle is critical given elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This research addresses the important interaction between drivers of land use change, terrestrial ecosystems, and carbon balance by directly linking economic causes of timber harvest to details of forest biomass and productivity. Results from this project will help state and national agencies manage temperate deciduous forests in the context of future economic and climatic changes. This research will also enhance scientific understanding of the role of deciduous forests in the carbon cycle through broad dissemination of results in scientific journals and conferences, through the support of graduate research assistants, undergraduate field assistants, and through the development of graduate and undergraduate teaching modules.

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