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Pacific Northwest Research Station
Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System Study

Corvallis Forestry Sciences Laboratory
3200 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, Oregon 97331

United States Forest Service.

MAPSS Home > Contact Us > CV: Ron Lenihan

Personnel: Jim Lenihan Curriculum Vitae



Ph.D. Degree in Geography
Major: Biogeography
Integrated Minor: Ecological Modeling, Paleoecology
Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331
June 1992

M.S. Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies
Major: Natural Resources
Topic Areas: Plant Community Ecology, Plant Taxonomy, and Multivariate Statistics
School of Natural Resources, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 92221
June 1986

B.S. Degree in Resource Planning and Interpretation
Department of Resource Planning and Interpretation, Humboldt State University
Arcata, CA 92221
June 1976

Employment History

Research Biologist (Fire and Ecosystem Modeler) 8/2001 - present
U.S.D.A. Forest Service
Corvallis Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Corvallis, OR 97331

In addition to continuing my scope of responsibility as a member of the MAPSS team (described below), I am embarking on a new multi-year research project funded by the National Fire Plan. My overall task is to enhance the predictive capacity of near-term fire risks and impacts over the conterminous United States. Individual tasks include validation and enhancement of exisiting continental-scale fire/ecosystem models, development of continuing near-term (3-12 month) spatially-explicit forecasts of fire weather, and production of continentally-mapped projections of near-term potential fire risk and impacts.

Research Associate 9/1992 - 8/2001
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331

For over a decade I built process-based, large-scale models of ecosystem dynamics and natural disturbance as a member of the Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System (MAPSS) team, part of the USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station's Managing Natural Disturbance Regimes Program. My primary responsibility within the MAPSS team was to independently plan and conduct research to develop models that simulate the regional-to-global scale impact of altered fire regimes on the distribution, structure, and function of ecosystems and on the global carbon cycle. Working with other members of the team, I also designed and created large-scale earth system modeling structures that linked individual models of climate, vegetation, natural disturbance, and biogeochemistry. I designed and conducted coupled fire-ecosystem modeling experiments that addressed a variety of science and management issues (e.g., how sources and sinks of carbon might change naturally over time or be modified by management practices; the potential fire risk and impacts over a range of future climate scenarios; spatial and temporal scaling in multi-scale modeling applications). I contributed interpreted results of these modeling experiments to regional, national and international assessments and policy analyses relating to climate change impacts on vegetation, disturbance regimes, and carbon flux. I helped provide modeling tools for assessing adaptive management strategies for ecosystem management at multiple scales. I often conducted my research as part of interagency and interdisciplinary teams, and I secured support for my research through successful competition for grant funding. I published and presented my research in peer-reviewed journals and at scientific symposia, and I participated by invitation in international workshops that synthesized knowledge and theory from the global community of disturbance ecologists into a quantitative framework that will guide future work in disturbance ecology and modeling.

Key Accomplishments:

  • Constructed MC-FIRE, a process-based, broad-scale model of fire behavior and effects; the first of its kind, and purposely designed to link with dynamic ecosystem models
  • Co-authored MC1 and BIOMAP, two broad-scale dynamic ecosystem models that simulate changes in the distribution, structure, and function of vegetation, hydrology, and carbon flux
  • Coupled MC-FIRE to MC1 and BIOMAP to simulate the regional-to-global scale impacts of altered disturbance regimes on ecosystems and on the global carbon cycle
  • Contributed results of coupled ecosystem-fire model simulations to the National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGRP); a map of potential regional-scale changes in fire simulated by the coupled ecosystem-fire model is featured in the 2001 issue of the USGRCP publication "Our Changing Planet"
  • Contributed to impacts research for Global Climate Change Assessments sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Contributed results of coupled ecosystem-fire model simulations to the Vegetation-Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP), a core task of the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) section of the IGBP.
  • Generated coupled ecosystem-fire model simulations for a major study of the potential impacts of climate change on California sponsored by the State of California Energy Commission
  • Invited participant in the IGBP/GCTE workshop "Developing a Strategy to Integrate Ecosystem Disturbance into Dynamic Global Models"
  • Invited participant in the IGBP/GCTE workshop "Global Change Impacts on Landscape Fires"
  • Constructed ecological response functions and ran coupled fire-ecosystem model simulations to investigate the sensitivity of species and vegetation types to climate change in the U.S. Central Grasslands, part of an interdisciplinary and interagency study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Interior and Department of Energy
  • Research support from grants by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S.G.S. Biological Research Division, the Electrical Power Research Institute, and the National Science Foundation

Graduate Research Assistant
Department of General Sciences
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331
9/1989 - 8/1992

  • Analyzed vegetation-climate relationships along regional-scale gradients within the United States, research that contributed to the knowledge base for the Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System (MAPSS) model
  • Participated in the construction of MAPSS, a large-scale equilibrium model of vegetation distribution and hydrology, among the first broad-scale, process-based vegetation models
  • Constructed ecological response surface functions and CCVM, a broad-scale model of vegetation distribution and hydrology for Canada, to investigate the potential response of Canadian tree species and vegetation types to an enhanced greenhouse effect

Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331 and
Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
9/1987 - 8/1989

Taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses including World Regional Geography, Introduction to Physical Geography, Biogeography, Climatology, and Field Techniques in Vegetation Ecology

Graduate Teaching Assistant
Department of Geosciences
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331
9/1985 - 8/1987

Taught laboratory sections for several courses including Biogeography, Climatology, and Geomorphology.

Research Vegetation Ecologist
Channel Islands National Park
U.S. National Park Service, Ventura, California

Conducted basic floristic inventories, identified rare and endangered plant populations, developed vegetation classification systems, and created vegetation type maps for several islands within Channel Islands National Park

Research Vegetation Ecologist
Redwood National Park
U.S. National Park Service, Arcata, California

Developed vegetation classification systems and vegetation type maps for several different ecosystems in Redwood National Park, helped design re-vegetation plans for areas harvested prior to park establishment, helped design and execute prescribed fires in the oak woodlands of the park

Forestry Consultant
Island Foundation
Covelo, California

Developed a forest habitat-type classification and measured forest productivity in different forest types in the proposed Middle Yolla Bolly Wilderness Area, Mendocino National Forest, CA

Computer Skills

Operating Systems: UNIX, MS Windows, DOS
Programming Languages: C, Fortran, C Shell Scripting, Perl, HTML
Geographic Information Systems: GRASS, ARC/INFO, ArcView, IDRISI
Statistical Software: SAS, S-PLUS, Cornell Ecology Package, Mathcad
Graphic Software: SigmaPlot, CorelDraw, World Construction Set
Misc. Software: Word, Powerpoint, Excel, NetCDF, IPW, IDL


Lenihan, J.M., D.V. Sandberg, and R.P. Neilson. 2000. Linking a dynamic vegetation model with the National Fuels Characterization System. Crossing the Millennium: Integrating Spatial Technologies and Ecological Principles for a New Age in Fire Management: 288-289.

Lenihan, J.M., C. Daly, D. Bachelet, and R.P. Neilson. 2000. Broad-scale fire severity in the MC1 DGVM. In: Sugihara, N.G. (ed.), Fire in California Ecosystems: Integrating Ecology, Prevention, and Management. International Association of Wildland Fire Publications. In press.

Lenihan, J.M. 1999. Fire as a large-scale disturbance. Pages 33-42 in Schmoldt, D.L., D.L. Peterson, R. Keane, J.M. Lenihan, and D. Weise (eds.), Assessing the effects of fire disturbance on ecosystems: a scientific agenda for research and management. USDA Forest Service PNW General Technical Report 455.

Lenihan, J.M., C. Daly, D. Bachelet, and R.P. Neilson. 1997. Simulating broad-scale fire severity in a Dynamic Global Vegetation Model. Northwest Science 72 (Special Issue): 91-103.

Lenihan, J.M. and R.P. Neilson. 1995. Canadian vegetation sensitivity to projected climatic change at three organizational levels. Climatic Change 30:27-56.

Lenihan, J.M. 1994. Ecological response surfaces for selected boreal tree species and their use in Canadian forest type classification. Journal of Vegetation Science 4:667-680.

Lenihan, J.M. and R.P. Neilson. 1993. A rule-based vegetation formation model for Canada. Journal of Biogeography 20:615-628.

Lenihan, J.M. 1990. Forest associations of Little Lost Man Creek, Humboldt County, California: reference-level in the hierarchical structure of old-growth coastal redwood vegetation. Madrono 37(2):69-87.

Aber, J., R.P. Neilson, S. McNulty, J.M. Lenihan, D. Bachelet, and R.J. Drapek. 2001. Forest processes and global environmental change: predicting the effect of individual and multiple stressors. Bioscience 51:735-751.

Bachelet, D., R.P. Neilson, J.M. Lenihan, and R.J. Drapek. 2001. Climate change effects on vegetation distribution and carbon budget in the United States. Ecosystems 4: 164-185.

Bachelet, D., J.M. Lenihan, C. Daly, R.P. Neilson, D.S. Ojima, and W.J. Parton. 2001. MC1: A dynamic vegetation model for estimating the distribution of vegetation and associated ecosystem fluxes of carbon, nutrients and water. USDA Forest Service PNW-GTR-508.

Bachelet, D., C. Daly, J.M. Lenihan, and R. Neilson. 2000. Interactions between fire, grazing and climate change at Wind Cave National Park, SD. Ecological Modelling 134:229-244.

Daly, C., D. Bachelet, J. Lenihan, R. Neilson, W. Parton, and D. Ojima. 2000. Dynamic simulation of tree-grass interactions for global change studies. Ecological Applications 10:449-469.

Fosberg, M.A., W. Cramer, V. Brovkin, R. Fleming, R. Gardner, A.M. Gill, J.G. Goldammer, R. Keane, P. Koehler, J.M. Lenihan, R. Neilson, S. Sitch, K. Thornicke, S. Venevski, M.G. Weber, and U. Wittenberg. 1999. Strategy for a fire module in dynamic global vegetation models. International Journal of Wildland Fire 9:79-84

Neilson, R.P., G.A. King, and J.M. Lenihan. 1994. Modeling forest response to climatic change: the potential for large emissions of carbon from dying forests. Pp. 150?162 in Kanninen, M. (ed.), Carbon Balance of the World's Ecosystems: Towards a Global Assessment. Proceedings of the IPCC AFOS Workshop held in Joensuu, Finland, May 11?15, 1992. Publications of the Academy of Finland, Painatuskeskus, Helsinki.

Neilson, R.P., J.M. Lenihan, and D. Bachelet. 2000. Overview of dynamic global vegetation models. Pages 3-4 in B.C.Hawkes and M.D.Flannigan, editors. Landscape Fire Modeling - Challenges and Opportunities. Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Victoria, British Columbia.

Neilson, R.P., G.A. King, R.L. DeVelice, and J.M. Lenihan. 1992. Regional and local vegetation patterns: The responses of vegetation diversity to subcontinental air masses. Pages 129-149 in A.J.Hansen and F.di Castri (eds.), Landscape Boundaries. Springer Verlag, New York.

Neilson, R.P., G.A. King, J. Lenihan, and R.L. DeVelice. 1990. The annual course of precipitation over much of the United States: Observed versus GCM simulation. Pages 19-26 in J.L.Betancourt and A.M.MacKay (eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Pacific Climate (PACLIM) Workshop. Interagency Ecological Studies Program for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary, Tech. Rpt. 23.

Neilson, R.P., G.A. King, R.L. DeVelice, J. Lenihan, D. Marks, J. Dolph, W. Campbell, and G. Glick. 1989. Sensitivity of Ecological Landscapes to Global Climatic Change. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA-600-3-89-073, NTIS-PB-90-120-072-AS, Washington, D.C.

Professional Associations

International Association of Wildland Fire
International Association of Landscape Ecologists
International Association for Vegetation Science
Ecological Society of America
Northwest Science Association
American Association of the Advancement of Science

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station, Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System Study
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:44 CST

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