US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Karen Abt

Karen Lee Abt

Research Economist
Forestry Sciences Laboratory, P.O. Box 12254
Research Triangle Park
North Carolina
United States

Phone: 919-549-4094
Contact Karen Lee Abt

Current Research

I work primarily in in two areas these days--bioenergy and wildfire economics.

More specifically, I lead a team that develops forecasts of wildland fire suppression expenditures for the USDA Forest Service and for the DOI land management agencies. We develop forecasts for multiple time horizons, running from 10 years ahead (a simple, time series model with good fit but high uncertainty model) to two months ahead (a more complex, climate and weather based model with greater certainty).

In bioenergy economics, I evaluate the effects of various national and international policies on sustainability, climate change, and renewable energy, on the forests of the U.S. South using simulation partial-equilibrium models of timber supply and demand coupled with resource management models to track forest trends.

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Federal land management agencies should expect to spend more on wildfires as global temperatures increase due to climate change

Wildfires are expected to become larger, more frequent, and more intense in the future. Wildfire suppression costs also are expected to rise, ac ...


Helping federal agencies manage fire budgets

Budgeting for wildfire suppression is increasingly difficult for federal for the Forest Service and Department of the Interior. In the past, fir ...


Interagency Research Collaboration FInds That Tribal Fire Prevention Has Large Benefits

Humans cause more than 55 percent of wildfires on lands managed by the Forest Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior, contributing to ...


Renewable Energy Policies in the European Union Influencing Timber Markets and Forests in the Southern U.S.

Forest Service scientists Karen Abt and Ken Skog, with their university collaborators, evaluated the status and outlook of the export of wood pe ...


Understanding the Effects of Increased Use of Wood Energy on Timber and Wood Product Markets

The development of new markets for wood products has potentially important impacts on the American public and taxpayers: competition with existi ...


Last updated on : 04/13/2020