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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Eric Gustafson

Eric J. Gustafson

Research Landscape Ecologist
5985 Highway K
United States

Phone: 715-362-1152
Contact Eric J. Gustafson

Current Research

1. Using the forest landscape dynamics model LANDIS-II to scale site-level experimental research knowledge to policy-relevant scales. 2. Predicting tree mortality as a function of drought. 3. Studying complex interactions of multiple ecological processes using a process-based landscape model (LANDIS-II). The process-based approach allows novel conditions (e.g., changing climate) to interact with disturbance and succession processes such that their combined effects are an emergent property of the simulations.

Research Interests

1. Development and application of LANDIS-II to study the effects of climate change and management alternatives on disturbance regimes, forest composition, and spatial pattern in temperate and boreal forests around the world. 2. Transfer of sophisticated modeling technology to forest managers and decision-makers.

Past Research

1. I developed a timber harvest simulation (HARVEST), which allows scientists to simulate timber management strategies in a spatially explicit manner through time. I am using HARVEST to study the cumulative effects of the various objectives of multiple landowners across an entire landscape. 2. I helped develop the LANDIS forest succession and disturbance model. I am working with other scientists to study the interactions among human and natural disturbances to determine the risk of wildfire within large landscapes.

Why This Research is Important

This is important to help managers account for complex spatial and ecological interactions as they plan management strategies for large landscapes. These decision-support models allow managers to predict how proposed management options are likely to play out over large areas and long time periods.


  • Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Lafayette, IN., Ph.D. Landscape Ecology 1992
  • SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, M.S. Wildlife Ecology. 1983
  • Wheaton College (IL), B.S. Biology. 1978

Professional Experience

  • Project Leader and Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, North Central & Northern Research Station
    1998 - 2012
  • Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station
    1992 - 1997

Professional Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America (1983 - Present)
  • International Association for Landscape Ecology (1990 - Present)
  • International Association for Landscape Ecology (U.S. Chapter) (1990 - Present)
  • International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) (1996 - Present)

Awards & Recognition

  • Scientific, 2010
    Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award, College of Agriculture, Purdue University.
  • Scientific, 2008
    Distinguished Science Award, Northern Research Station. The award recognizes the creative efforts and contributions of a Forest Service Research and Development scientist through their sustained research productivity.
  • Scientific, 2007
    Distinguished Landscape Ecologist Award, US Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology. The award is to recognize individuals whose thinking and writing have helped to shape the field of landscape ecology.
  • Scientific, 1999
    USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for Superior Service.
  • Scientific, 1997
    Presidential Award for Early Career Scientists and Engineers (plus $150,000 research grant)
  • Scientific, 1996
    Forest Service Chief’s Early Career Scientist Award
  • Academic, 1983
    Wilford A. Dence Memorial Award ($1000). SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY. To an outstanding graduate student demonstrating scholarly achievement and potential for a successful professional career.

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


LandViz: Visualization of Landscape Model Outputs to Support Management Decisions

Forest Service scientists developed an intuitive, browser-based tool called "LandViz" that allows stakeholders to easily visualize how climate a ...


Mechanistic Landscape Modeling of Drought Effects

Drought is expected to become more prevalent and will probably be a major factor in increasing tree mortality. Landscape-scale forest models hav ...


Model Assesses the Influence of Drought Stress on Forest Relative to Other Factors

Drought stress data added to a forest landscape disturbance and succession model show that length of drought is more important than severity


Scaling Up Ecosystem Impacts of the Pagami Creek Fire in Northern Minnesota

Quantifying fire severity is critical to understanding the ecosystem impacts of wildfire. Forest Service research demonstrates the magnitude of ...


Scientists Predict Survivability Factors for Northern Forests Given Elevated CO2 and Ozone Levels

The researchers scaled up a high-profile 11-year ecosystem experiment called Aspen-FACE to assess how elevated carbon dioxide and ozone levels m ...


Scientists model the effects of restoring the American chestnut tree to the eastern U.S. landscape

The American chestnut tree is fast growing, somewhat tolerant of shade, and its wood is resistant to decay. The chestnut tree might be capable o ...


Last updated on : 12/07/2020