You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Radiocarbon sheds light on climate change and carbon cycle

Photo of Map showing the location of projects supported by the Radiocarbon Collaborative. Map showing the location of projects supported by the Radiocarbon Collaborative. Snapshot : The Forest Service provides nationwide support for carbon and climate research through the Radiocarbon Collaborative, which has supported a wide range of projects that have produced high-impact publications, as well as important information for land managers and conservationists. In 2017, the Radiocarbon Collaborative launched an online resource center featuring radiocarbon information and social networking opportunities.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Heckman, Katherine A.Swanston, Chris
Research Location : Projects supported by the Radiocarbon Collaborative span the whole of the United States of America, as well and international locations.
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1231


The Radiocarbon Collaborative is a research initiative focused on using radiocarbon dating to assist Forest Service researchers and land managers in understanding how climate change may influence the systems in which they work. Radiocarbon is most often associated with archeology in people’s minds, but the same principles can be applied to tracking the flow of carbon through ecosystems. This capability allows researchers to evaluate how climate and management decisions impact the balance of carbon in soils and ecosystems across the country. Radiocarbon analysis is also used to evaluate population changes in rare plants and animals. Since 2011, the Radiocarbon Collaborative has supported 50 different research projects from 40 collaborating institutions in the U.S. and abroad. These projects span a range of 22 unique ecological domains and focus on scientific disciplines ranging from climate change and the carbon cycle to land management and wildlife conservation. In 2017, the Radiocarbon Collaborative achieved a major outreach achievement by launching unique and interactive online resource center that provides radiocarbon-focused educational materials as well as social networking opportunities. Visit online for more information.

Program Areas