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Carolyn T. Hunsaker

Emeritus Scientist
Fresno Forestry Sciences Laboratory
2081 E. Sierra Avenue
Fresno, CA
United States

current research

  • The Kings River Experimental Watershed (KREW) is being developed to: (1) quantify the variability in characteristics of stream ecosystems and their associated watersheds in the southern Sierra Nevada; and (2) evaluate the effects of forest management (prescribed fire and uneven-aged, small group tree thinning) on the physical, chemical, and biological components of stream ecosystems.
  • Forest Structure from Remotely Sensed Imagery. Radar and laser altimetry (Lidar) are being investigated for their ability to characterize forest structure at multiple spatial scales. Such data could be used for monitoring changes in forests and for describing habitat for organisms such as owls, goshawks, and fisher.

research interest

My general research interests are in (1) stream ecosystems and watersheds and (2) landscape ecology.

In the future, I plan to continue examining ecosystems holistically at the watershed scale, rather than as a series of disparate parts. I also will be evaluating approaches to managing forests that are subjected to multiple stressors, such as climate change and air pollution.

past research

The Kings River Sustainable Forest Ecosystem Project was established in 1994 to investigate the use of management tools, prescribed fire and uneven-aged, small group tree thinning, for creating a landscape mosaic that mimics the historical distribution of vegetation resulting from frequent, low-intensity fires prevalent before European settlement of the West. It is a joint effort between Pacific Southwest Research Station and the Sierra National Forest. Several long-term research studies exist within the Project: California spotted owl demographic study (11 years), forest bird study (7 years), and Kings River Experimental watershed (KREW) study (2 years).


  • University of California Doctor of Environmental Science and Engineering D.Env. 1980
  • Loma Linda University Biology M.A. 1976
  • Pacific Union College Biology B.S. 1974

Professional Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America Senior Ecologist (1993 - current)
  • Institute of Professional Environmental Practice Qualified Environmental Professional (1994 - current)
  • American Geophysical Union Member ( - )
  • Association for Women in Science Member ( - )
  • Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society Member ( - )
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences Member ( - )
  • Water Environment Federation Member ( - )
  • Ecological Society of America Member ( - )
  • International Association for Landscape Ecology Member ( - )

Awards & Recognition

  • Award, 1997
    YWCA Tribute to Women Award in science and technology, Knoxville, TN,
  • Award, 1997
    Distinguished and Sustained Scientific Contributions Award, East Tennessee Chapter of Association for Women in Science
  • Award, 1994
    Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Technical Achievement Award
  • Award, 1991
    Service Award, Water Pollution Control Federation
  • Award, 1987
    Distinguished Service Award, East Tennessee Chapter of Association for Women in Science

Featured Publications & Products


Priority Research Areas

  • Climate Change
  • Watershed Management and Restoration