US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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David Bell

David M. Bell

Research Forester
3200 SW Jefferson Way
United States

Phone: 541-750-7298
Contact David M. Bell

Current Research

My current research focuses on understanding drivers of recent rapid changes in forest ecosystems by linking fine-scale demographic processes (growth, mortality, and recruitment) to coarse scale shifts in vegetation pattern. This work leverages both field and remotely sensed data to develop cross-scale linkages essential for robust geospatial predictions of forest change and vulnerability. Specifically, I am:

(1) Exploring the relationship between regional remotely sensed changes in forest ecosystems, spatio-temporal variation in climate, and stand- and tree-level forest inventory measurements to identify the forest and environmental characteristics associated with change and the contributions of tree mortality driven by drought, disease, and insect outbreaks.

(2) Quantifying uncertainties in vegetation mapping, such as the gradient nearest neighbor (GNN) imputation, to better understand the applicability and behavior of Landsat-based, multivariate vegetation mapping efforts across scales.

(3) Examining regional variation in forest and species productivity to identify the interacting effects of disturbance, climate, and forest structure of forest change throughout ecological succession.

Past Research

My past work involved demographic and ecophysiological responses of individual trees to climate and competition in eastern US tree species, as well as the biogeography of tree mortality, recruitment, and occurrence in forests of the interior western US.

Why This Research is Important

Forest ecologists are increasingly tasked with predicting forest change and vulnerability in the face of climate change and disturbance. By linking fine-scale ecological processes to remotely sensed data, this research can provide insights into the interacting drivers of forest change and increasingly robust geospatial predictions. Such results are essential for planning and decision making efforts for an uncertain future.


  • Duke University, Ph.D. Forest ecology 2011
  • Northern Arizona University, M.S. Forestry 2005
  • Colorado State University, B.S. Forestry 2002

Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Wyoming
    2011 - 2014

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


A satellite view yields clues about drought and tree mortality

Researchers are using satellite data to understand the interplay between drought and site-specific conditions across the larger landscape. A new ...


How do old clearcuts affect old-growth?

The edge influence of past clearcutting on the structure of neighboring uncut old-growth forests is widespread and persistent. These indirect an ...


Wetter, warmer conditions will likely favor biomass accumulation in Douglas-fir

Conversely, continued accumulation of forest biomass in drier regions may be more limited.


Last updated on : 03/17/2021