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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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Dave Peterson

David L. Peterson

Research Forester
400 N 34th Street, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: 206-732-7812
Contact David L. Peterson

Curriculum vitae (138 KB MSWORD)


Current Research

I am currently focusing on how fire disturbance can be integrated into the management of forest ecosystems in the western United States. My work on the development of scientific principles for effective use of thinning and prescribed burning will help remove accumulated fuels and reduce the risk of crown fires. In addition to publishing widely in the peer-reviewed literature, I develop integrated databases and software that characterize fuels and fire activity, including fuelbed properties, combustion, emissions, air quality, and ecological effects. I recently completed a project that developed quantitative guidelines for modifying forest structure to reduce crown fire hazard in forests of the interior West. I also study the effects of climatic variability and change on forest ecosystems in the western United States, and am a principal investigator for the Western Mountain Initiative. I am currently working with national forests and national parks to develop vulnerability assessments and adaptation options for climate change.

Research Interests

I study the effects of environmental stress on forest ecosystems, with emphasis on fire ecology and climate change. Understanding and managing ecosystems at large spatial and temporal scales is a huge challenge for natural resource management, and most of my research has been focused at these large scales. The ecological scale paradigm is central to nearly all of my scientific efforts. For over 20 years, my research group has employed a combination of empirical studies and modeling to investigate the response of mountain ecosystems to climatic variability and change. Regional-scale research has focused primarily on the ecology of subalpine forest ecosystems, effects of climatic variability on tree growth and regeneration, and fire-climate interactions.  A comprehensive report on the effects of climatic variability and change on forest ecosystems in the United States was recently submitted to the US Global Change Research Program.  Recent research focuses on fire-climate relationships across the western United States, development of guidelines for hazardous fuel treatment, and adaptation to climate change on federal lands.

Past Research

For the past 20 years, my research group has employed a combination of empirical studies and modeling to investigate the response of mountain ecosystems to climatic variability and change. Regional-scale research has focused primarily on the ecology of subalpine forest ecosystems, effects of climatic variability on tree growth and regeneration, and fire-climate interactions. Recent research focuses on fire-climate relationships across the western United States, development of guidelines for hazardous fuel treatment, and adaptation to climate change on federal lands.

Why This Research is Important

Managing wildfire and hazardous fuels is one of the greatest challenges facing resource managers on federal lands in the western United States. The quantitatve tools I developed provide the scientific basis for fuels management and hazard reduction across millions of acres of dry forest. Climate change adaptation is critical in the face of rising temperature, because of potential effects on natural resources. The approaches I developed provide processes, tools, and information that facilitate adaptation on national forests and other federal lands and support sustainable resource management.

Education

  • University of Illinois, Ph.D. Forest Ecology, 1980
  • University of Illinois, M.S. Botany, 1977
  • University of Illinois, B.S. Zoology, 1976

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Highlights

HighlightTitleYear


PNW-2012-16
Reponding to Climate Change on National Forests

2012


PNW-2012-17
Responding to Climate Change on National Forests

A new guidebook provides a scientific foundation and framework for preparing for climate change

2012


Last updated on : 09/18/2014