Elaine K. Sutherland
Research Biologist & Scientist-in-Charge, Coram Experimental Forest
Forestry Sciences Laboratory
800 East Beckwith Avenue
Contact Elaine K. Sutherland
1) We have little detailed knowledge about fire regimes of mid- higher elevation forests in the northern Rockies, and I am performing fire scar and tree demographic analysis across multiple climate zones in Western Montana in mid- high-elevation forests. 2) Fire-climate outlooks ( Seasonal - > 1 year) can be used by fire managers for longterm resource planning. I am co-PI of a team evaluating past large-scale climate/fire relationships across western North America 3) I am leading several new analytical approaches to fire history data and tool development for performing them 4) I am continuing work from my previous assignment in Ohio on fire regimes and prescribed burning treatments in oak forests.
My research interests include using tree-ring analysis and other research tools to understand disturbance processes (particularly fire) and landscape pattern, and relationships to climate; using tree-ring analysis to understand how physical injuries from events like fire affects wood and scar formation processes. My professional interests extend to synthesizing existing scientific information for scientists and managers and studying the relationship between disturbance and forest community dynamics, and application of prescribed burn.
This research is particularly useful for land and fire managers at all levels (for example, Districts, Forests, Regions) when they are developing plans. They are required to demonstrate understanding about how forests and other vegetation types developed the way they did, and what management approaches would be useful in making the plan successful. Disturbance, especially fire, is an important process in most forests; the results from my work shows how fire varies at broad spatial and temporal scales in higher-elevation forests. My work is also used by other scientists, to understand fire regimes in these forest types and in applying the methods I develop in analyzing fire history data.
Why This Research is Important
1) The focus of my early work was how fire suppression (and other historical factors), and then prescribed burning (and indirect effects), affected the growth of ponderosa pines in northern Arizona. 2) This was good preparation for my postdoctoral work in Utah, where I investigated the effects of historical sulphur dioxide smelting on Douglas-fir ecophysiology and growth. 3) In my first assignment for Forest Service Research in Ohio, I investigated the history of fire in oak forests (previously considered asbestos forests), and initiated experiments applying prescribed burning to regenerate oak forests; this work influenced how Region 9 now manages oak forests. 4) I moved to western Montana and began my current research (and research administration), but also led a team synthesizing information about the environmental consequences of fuel treatments on ponderosa pine (US westwide).
- University of Arizona, Tucson, Ph.D. Department of Watershed Management, and Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research 1989
- University of Arizona, Tucson, M.S. Department of Geosciences, and Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research 1983
- University of Virginia, Charlottesville, B.A. Department of Environmental Sciences 1978
- Sussex University, Visiting Student Physical Geography 1976
- Scientist-in-Charge, Coram Experimental Forest, US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
2007 - Current
- Supervisory Research Biologist, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forest and Woodland Ecosystems Program, Missoula
2007 - Current
- Affiliate Faculty, College of Forestry and Conservation & the Division of Biology, University of Montana, Missoula
1999 - Current
- Scientist-in-Charge, Tenderfoot Experimental Forest, US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
2007 - 2010
- Project Leader & Research Biologist, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, Ecology and Management of Northern Rocky Mountain Forests, Missoula
1999 - 2006
- Adjunct Faculty, Department of Evolution, Ecology, & Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus.
1994 - 2001
- Research Ecologist, USFS Northeastern Research Station, Quantitative Methods for Modeling Response of Northeastern Forest Ecosystems to Management and Enironmental Stresses, Delaware, Ohio
1992 - 1999
- Senior Research Scientist, Native Plants Inc., Salt Lake City, UT
1989 - 1991
- Post-Doctoral Scientist, Native Plants Inc., Salt Lake City, UT
1987 - 1989
- Visiting Scientist, Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
1984 - 1987
- Graduate Research Assistant (except 1981-1982), Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson
1979 - 1984
Drs. Harold C. Fritts, Marvin Stokes, Steve Leavitt
- Graduate Teaching Assistant, Cell Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson
1981 - 1982
- Research Assistant, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
1978 - 1979
Dr. Roger Pielke
- Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
1976 - 1978
Dr. Robert L. Ellison
- Association for Tree-Ring Analysis, Member (2015 - Current)
- International Association of Wildland Fire, Member (2015 - Current)
- Tree-Ring Society, President (2012 - Current)
- Association for Fire Ecology, Member (2008 - Current)
- International Multi-Proxy Paleofire Database Advisory Board, Member (2008 - Current)
- Society of American Foresters (SAF), Member (1983 - 1990)
Awards & Recognition
- Service and Teaching , 2006
from Dr. James Speer, Director of the North American DendroEcological Fieldweek, “in appreciation for your 6th year as a Group Leader for North American DendroEcological Fieldweek,”
- Certificate of Merit, 2005
“For your extra effort in leading the Environmental Consequences Team for the Fuels Synthesis Project”
- Certificate of Merit, 2003
“For outstanding civil rights efforts through your involvement in community and educational events during FY 2003” from the RMRS Civil Rights Committee. "
- Certificate of Appreciation, 2001
In appreciation for your extra effort as Director’s Representative during an especially busy year of program growth and transition” from Director’s Representative/ALWRI Director David Parsons
- Certificate of Merit, 1996
“For outstanding efforts in organizing the Restoration of Mixed-Oak Forests with Prescribed Fire Ecosystem Management Project” from supervisor Charles T. Scott.
Featured Publications & Products
- Smith, Kevin T.; Arbellay, Estelle; Falk, Donald A.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 2016. Macroanatomy and compartmentalization of recent fire scars in three North American conifers.
- Arbellay, Estelle; Stoffel, Markus; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Smith, Kevin T.; Falk, Donald A. 2014. Resin duct size and density as ecophysiological traits in fire scars of Pseudotsuga menziesii and Larix occidentalis.
- Arbellay, Estelle; Stoffel, Markus; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Smith, Kevin T.; Falk, Donald A. 2014. Changes in tracheid and ray traits in fire scars of North American conifers and their ecophysiological implications.
- Crotteau, Justin S.; Keyes, Christopher R.; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Wright, David K.; Egan, Joel M. 2016. Forest fuels and potential fire behaviour 12 years after variable-retention harvest in lodgepole pine.
- Josefsson, Torbjorn; Sutherland, Elaine; Arno, Stephen F.; Ostlund, Lars. 2012. Ancient barkpeeled trees in the Bitterroot Mountains, Montana: Legacies of native land use and implications for their protection.
- Falk, Donald A.; Heyerdahl, E. K.; Brown, P. M.; Swetnam, T. W.; Sutherland, E. K.; Gedalof, Z.; Yocom, L.; Brown, T. J. 2010. Fire and climate variation in western North America from fire-scar and tree-ring networks.
- Hutchinson, Todd F.; Long, Robert P.; Rebbeck, Joanne; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Yaussy, Daniel A. 2012. Repeated prescribed fires alter gap-phase regeneration in mixed-oak forests.
- Hutchinson, Todd F.; Yaussy, Daniel A.; Long, Robert P.; Rebbeck, Joanne; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 2012. Long-term (13-year) effects of repeated prescribed fires on stand structure and tree regeneration in mixed-oak forests.
- Looney, Christopher E.; Peterson, Courtney L.; Nagel, Linda M.; Guldin, James M.; Swanston, ChristopherW ; Janowiak, Maria K.; Battaglia, Mike A.; Bigelow, Seth W.; Brandt, Leslie A.; D’Amato, Anthony W.; Evans, Kevin ; Jack, Steve B.; Jain, Theresa B.; Jenkins, Melissa M.; Kennedy Sutherland, Elaine ; Hammes, Mary ; Palik, Brian J.; Tuten, Matt C.; Woodall, Christopher W. 2020. Adaptive silviculture for climate change network: learning from land manager-research partnerships.
- Crotteau, Justin ; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Jain, Theresa ; Wright, David ; Jenkins, Melissa ; Keyes, Christopher ; Nagel, Linda M. 2019. Initiating climate adaptation in a western larch forest.
- Harley, Grant L.; Baisan, Christopher H.; Brown, Peter M.; Falk, Donald A.; Flatley, William T.; Grissino-Mayer, Henri D.; Hessl, Amy; Heyerdahl, Emily K.; Kaye, Margot W.; Lafon, Charles W.; Margolis, Ellis Q.; Maxwell, R. Stockton; Naito, Adam T.; Platt, William J.; Rother, Monica T.; Saladyga, Thomas; Sherriff, Rosemary L.; Stachowiak, Lauren A.; Stambaugh, Michael C.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Taylor, Alan H. 2018. Advancing dendrochronological studies of fire in the United States.
- Crotteau, Justin S.; Keyes, Christopher R.; Hood, Sharon M.; Larson, Andrew J.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Wright, David K.; Egan, Joel M. 2018. Stand dynamics 11 years after retention harvest in a lodgepole pine forest.
- Schaedel, Michael S.; Larson, Andrew J.; Affleck, David L. R.; Belote, R. Travis; Goodburn, John M.; Wright, David K.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 2017. Long-term precommercial thinning effects on Larix occidentalis (western larch) tree and stand characteristics.
- Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Brewer, P.; Gross, W. 2017. Paleo-event data standards for dendrochronology.
- Keyes, Christopher R.; Perry, Thomas E.; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Wright, David K.; Egan, Joel M. 2014. Variable-retention harvesting as a silvicultural option for lodgepole pine.
- Falk, Donald A.; Swetnam, Thomas; Kitzberger, Thomas; Sutherland, Elaine; Brown, Peter; Bigio, Erica; Hall, Matthew. 2013. A new North American fire scar network for reconstructing historical pyrogeography, 1600-1900 AD.
- Anning, Alexander K.; Rubino, Darrin L.; Sutherland, Elaine K.; McCarthy, Brian C. 2013. Dendrochronological analysis of white oak growth patterns across a topographic moisture gradient in southern Ohio.
- Sutherland, E. K.; Farella, Josh; Wright, David K; Hyp, Ian; Smith, K. T.; Falk, Donald A.; Arbellay, Estelle; Stoffel, Markus. 2013. External charring and fire scarring in three western conifers.
- Arbellay, Estelle; Stoffel, Markus; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Smith, Kevin T.; Falk, Donald A. 2013. Fire-induced wounding elicits changes in the wood anatomy of North American conifers.
- Smith, Kevin T.; Sutherland, Elaine; Arbellay, Estelle; Stoffel, Markus; Falk, Donald. 2013. Macroanatomy of compartmentalization in fire scars of three western conifers.
- Arbellay, Estelle; Stoffel, Markus; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Smith, Kevin T.; Falk, Donald A. 2013. Resin duct characteristics in the wood of fire-scarred North American conifers.
- Hessl, Amy E.; Ariya, Uyanga; Brown, Peter; Byambasuren, Oyunsannaa; Green, Tim; Jacoby, Gordon; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Nachin, Baatarbileg; Maxwell, R. Stockton; Pederson, Neil; De Grandpre, Louis; Saladyga, Thomas; Tardif, Jacques C. 2012. Reconstructing fire history in central Mongolia from tree-rings.
- Devall, Margaret S.; Sutherland, Elaine K. 2008. Editorial: Papers from the 7th International Conference on Dendrochronology - Cultural Diversity, Environmental Variability.
- Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Aplet, Gregory H.; Babler, Michael G.; Baker, William L.; Bentz, Barbara; Harrington, Michael; Hawkes, Brad C.; Huckaby, Laurie Stroh; Jenkins, Michael J.; Kashian, Daniel M.; Keane, Robert E.; Kulakowski, Dominik; McCaughey, Ward; McHugh, Charles; Negron, Jose; Popp, John; Romme, William H.; Shepperd, Wayne; Smith, Frederick W.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Tinker, Daniel; Veblen, Thomas T. 2008. The status of our scientific understanding of lodgepole pine and mountain pine beetles - a focus on forest ecology and fire behavior.
- Finch, Deborah; Sutherland, Elaine K. 2007. Achieving fuel reduction goals and restoring riparian zones to healthy conditions: Riparian ecosystem dynamics in relation to fire in the Rocky Mountains.
- Lentile, Leigh; Morgan, Penny; Hardy, Colin; Hudak, Andrew; Means, Robert; Ottmar, Roger; Robichaud, Peter; Sutherland, Elaine; Way, Frederick; Lewis, Sarah. 2007. Lessons learned from Rapid Response Research on wildland fires.
- Lentile, L.; Morgan, P.; Hardy, C.; Hudak, A.; Means, R.; Ottmar, R.; Robichaud, P.; Sutherland, E. Kennedy; Szymoniak, J.; Way, F.; Fites-Kaufman, J.; Lewis, S.; Mathews, E.; Shovik, H.; Ryan, K. 2007. Value and challenges of conducting rapid response research on wildland fires.
- Young, Michael K.; Mace, Ethan A.; Ziegler, Eric T.; Sutherland, Elaine K. 2006. Characterizing and contrasting instream and riparian coarse wood in western Montana basins.
- Gayton, Don V.; Weber, Marc H.; Harrington, Mick; Heyerdahl, Emily K.; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Brett, Bob; Hall, Cindy; Hartman, Micahel; Peterson, Liesl; Merrel, Carolynne. 2006. Fire history of a western Montana ponderosa pine grassland: A pilot study.
- Hutchinson, Todd F.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Yaussy, Daniel A. 2005. Effects of repeated prescribed fires on the structure, composition, and regeneration of mixed-oak forests in Ohio.
- Canton-Thompson, Janie; Saveland, Jim; Ritter, Sharon; Ortega, Yvette K; Pearson, Dean F.; Harrington, Mick; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Cook, Clint; Jones, Greg. 2004. ECO-Report - Great issues, great diversions.
- Boerner, R. E. J.; Brinkman, J. A.; Sutherland, E. K. 2004. Effects of fire at two frequencies on nitrogen transformations and soil chemistry in a nitrogen-enriched forest landscape.
- Canton-Thompson, Janie; Patton-Mallory, Marcia; Heald, Sue; Ritter, Sharon; Pfister, Robert D.; Pearson, Dean E.; Ortega, Yvette K.; Watson, Alan; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Jones, Greg. 2003. ECO-Report - The case for research: How it makes a difference to managers.
- Canton-Thompson, Janie; Ritter, Sharon; Campbell, Dave; Schreck, Julie; Kolb, Peter; Thompson, Brooke; Zuuring, Hans; Watson, Alan; Ortega, Yvette; McKelvey, Kevin; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Jones, Greg. 2002. ECO-Report - Fire recovery in the Bitterroot: "It s a lot of work!".
- Canton-Thompson, Janie; Jones, Greg; Smith, Jane Kapler; Rice, Peter; Harrington, Mick; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; McKelvey, Kevin; Ortega, Yvette; McCaughey, Ward; Pfister, Robert; Jones, Greg; Swanson, Larry; Wright, Vita. 2001. ECO-Report - One ranger's experience in summer 2000.
- Artman, Vanessa L.; Sutherland, Elaine K.; Downhower, Jerry F. 2001. Prescribed burning to restore mixed-oak communities in southern Ohio: Effects on breeding-bird populations.
- Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Hale, Betsy J.; Hix, David M. 2000. Defining species guilds in the Central Hardwood Forest, USA.
- Hines, Erin B.; Salick, Jan; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Hutchinson, Todd F.; Sutherland, Steve; Sutherland, Steve. 2000. Ethnoecology of Fire: An Experimental Approach in the Ohio Valley.
- Boerner, Ralph E. J.; Decker, Kelly L. M.; Sutherland, Elaine K. 2000. Prescribed burning effects on soil enzyme activity in a southern Ohio hardwood forest: A landscape-scale analysis.
- Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Smith, Kevin. 2000. Resistance is not futile: The response of hardwoods to fire-caused wounding.
- Boerner, Ralph E. J.; Morris, Sherri Jeakins; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Hutchinson, Todd F. 2000. Spatial variability in soil nitrogen dynamics after prescribed burning in Ohio mixed-oak forests.
- Iverson, Louis R.; Prasad, Anantha M.; Hale, Betsy J.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 1999. Atlas of current and potential future distributions of common trees of the eastern United States.
- Smith, Kevin T.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 1999. Fire-scar formation and compartmentalization in oak.
- Hutchinson, Todd F.; Boerner, Ralph E.J.; Iverson, Louis R.; Sutherland, Steve; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 1999. Landscape patterns of understory composition and richness across a moisture and nitrogen mineralization gradient in Ohio (U.S.A.) Quercus forests.
- Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 1997. History of fire in a southern Ohio second-growth mixed-oak forest.
- Sutherland, Elaine K.; Iverson, Louis R.; Yaussy, Daniel A.; Scott, Charles T.; Hale, Betsy J.; Prasad, Anantha; Schwartz, Mark; Barrett, Hope R. 1997. Models of regeneration, tree growth, and current and potential ranges of tree and mammal species in the Eastern U.S..
- Boerner, Ralph E. J.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 1997. The chemical characteristics of soil in control and experimentally thinned plots in mesic oak forests along a historical deposition gradient.
- Sutherland, E. K.; Grissino-Mayer, H.; Woodhouse, C. A.; Covington, W. W.; Horn, S.; Huckaby, L.; Kerr, R.; Kush, J.; Moore, M.; Plumb, T. 1995. Two centuries of fire in a southwestern Virginia Pinus pungens community.
- Yaussy, Daniel A.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 1994. Fire history in the Ohio River Valley and its relation to climate.
- Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Covington, W. Wallace; Andariese, Steve. 1991. A model of ponderosa pine growth response to prescribed burning.
- Swetnam, Thomas W.; Thompson, Marna Ares; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 1985. Using dendrochronology to measure radial growth of defoliated trees.
Citations of non US Forest Service Publications
- Kennedy, E.A. 1978. Some palaeoenvironmental indicators from the foraminiferal assemblage in the Slindon Sands. Brighton Geographical Society 4: 14-18.
Kennedy, E.A. and J.A. Gordon. 1980. Characteristics of nineteenth century climate data used in the verification of dendroclimatic reconstructions. Technical Note No. 16. Northern Hemisphere Climatic Reconstruction Group, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona: Tucson, Arizona. 11 p. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2295.9848
Sutherland, E.K. 1983a. The effects of fire exclusion on growth in mature ponderosa pine in northern Arizona. Master of Sciences Pre-submission manuscript, Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona. 20 pp. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.5109.9364
Sutherland, E.K. 1983. Application of dendrochronology to resource inventory In: Renewable resource inventories for monitoring changes and trends: Proceedings of an international conference, 1983, Corvallis, OR. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4679.8562 College of Forestry, Oregon State University: Corvallis, OR. pp 464-467
Swetnam, T.W., E.K. Sutherland and M.A. Thompson. 1983. Comment on dating forest disturbances. Quaternary Research 19: 400-401.
- Sutherland, E.K. and W.W. Covington. 1987. Factors affecting the growth response of Pinus ponderosa L. to prescribed burning. J.W. Hornbeck and G. Jacoby eds. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ecological Aspects of Tree-Ring Analysis, Tarrytown, NY. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2078.8967 U.S. Department of Energy. pp 432-442. (Accessed 24 August 2015)
- Treshow, M., E.K. Sutherland. and J.P. Bennett. 1987. Tolerance and susceptibility to air pollution: A new direction in sampling strategy. J.W. Hornbeck and G. Jacoby eds. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ecological Aspects of Tree-Ring Analysis, Tarrytown, NY. U.S. Department of Energy. pp 392-400. (Accessed 24 August 2015)
- Sutherland, E.K. 1989a. The natural and unnatural fire history of southwestern ponderosa pine. Women in Natural Resources 11(1): 12-16.
- Sutherland, E.K. 1989b. The effect of prescribed burning on southwestern ponderosa pine growth. PhD Dissertation, Renewable Natural Resources; Graduate College, The University of Arizona. 116 pp.
- Martin, B. and E.K. Sutherland. 1990. Air pollution in the past recorded in width and stable carbon isotope composition of annual growth rings of Douglas-fir. Plant, Cell and Environment 13(8): 839-844.
Sutherland, E.K. and B. Martin. 1990. Growth response of Pseudotsuga menziesii to air pollution from copper smelting. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 20: 1020-1029.
- Sutherland, E.K., W.W. Covington and S. Andariese. 1991. A model of ponderosa pine growth response to prescribed burning. Forest Ecology and Management 44(2–4): 161-173.
- Sutherland, E.K. and B. Martin. 1992. Stable carbon isotopes can reveal the cause of tree growth variation during periods of high air pollutant concentration. T.S. Bartholin, B.E. Berglund, D. Eckstein and F.H. Schweingruber eds. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Tree Rings and Environment, 3-9 September 1990, Ystad, Sweden. LUNDQUA Report 34 University of Lund: Lund, Sweden. pp 313-323.
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