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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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IPCC Work in Zimbabwe

Randy Kolka

Team Leader / Research Soil Scientist
1831 Hwy 169 East
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
Phone: 218-326-7115
Fax: 218-326-7123
Contact Randy Kolka

Curriculum vitae (728 KB PDF)


Current Research

I study the effect of land management (forest, agriculture and urban land uses) on the terrestrial and aquatic cycling of nutrients, carbon, heavy metals (notably mercury) and water.

Currently I'm working on numerous studies to assess nutrient, carbon and mercury pools and processes in variety of ecosystems. Nutrient work includes studies related to Forestry Best Management Practices in riparian and wetland systems and work aimed at understanding the influence of strategically placed perennial vegetation in agricultural watersheds. Nutrient work also includes the effect of stream restoration on nutrient cycling. My carbon work includes studies looking at landscape level carbon pools and emissions across number of ecosystems including peatlands, and a variety upland vegetation types. The ecosystem carbon work also extends into characterizing the pools of coarse woody debris in forested riparian areas and streams. My mercury work is focused on two main efforts, one to characterize the mercury cycle under increased sulfate deposition and a second to understand the influence of prescribed fire on mercury cycling.

Why This Research is Important

The transport on nonpoint source pollutants including nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are the number one concern regarding the impacts on aquatic ecosystems. This is demonstrated by the numerous issues surrounding the development of Best Management Practices for forest and agricultural systems and regulations that are being imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (e.g. Total Maximum Daily Loads).

In the Lake States, mercury is of high concern because of its potential to bioaccumulate in the aquatic food chain. Understanding how management can lessen mercury inputs and/or increase storage in terrestrial systems is critical for human health and the fishing industry.

Investigating the landscape level influences on carbon storage and processing will lead to a better understanding of implications of climate change. One of the great uncertainties in climate modeling is the feedbacks that terrestrial systems have on atmospheric carbon, most notably on the green house gases carbon dioxide and methane. Our work is helping fill this important knowledge gap.

Education

  • University of Minnesota, Ph.D. Soil Science, 1996
  • University of Minnesota, M.S. Soil Science, 1993
  • University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, B.S. Soil Science, 1990

Professional Experience

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, North Dakota State University
    -
  • Associate Faculty, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University
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  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota
    -
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota
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  • Graduate Faculty, Department of Forestry, University of Kentucky
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  • Adjunct Faculty, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University
    -

Professional Organizations

  • Soil Science Society of America
  • Society of Wetland Scientists
  • American Water Resources Association
  • Society of American Foresters
  • Ecology and Biology Subject Area, Editorial Positions
  • Society of American Foresters, Forest Science and Technology Board, Editorial Positions (2006 - Present)
  • Wetlands, Associate Editor (2006 - Present)
  • Ecosystems Restoration and Creation, Annual Conference Editorial Review Committee, Associate Editor (1997 - Present)

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Highlights

HighlightTitleYear


NRS-2012-32
Prairie Strips Lead to Better Environmental Health and Greater Socioeconomic Vitality

Forest Service scientists help Midwestern farming communities understand how to transform strategic portions of the agricultural landscape into ...

2012


Last updated on : 06/12/2014