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John D. Shaw

John Shaw, Biological Scientist

Biological Scientist

507 25th Street
Ogden, UT 84401
Contact John D. Shaw

Current Research

My research focuses on studies in stand dynamics that include maximum density-site relationships, growth and yield implications of mixed-species stands, and effects of stand senescence on stand structure and regeneration; partitioning forest mortality by background (e.g., density dependence, endemic insect and disease) vs. excess (e.g., drought) causes; new, biologically consistent models of tree and stand growth

Research Interests

I work to maximize the value of the Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) program by expanding the potential range of analyses and developing useful and relevant tools from the FIA data. This research will produce tools and models that will allow more accurate assessment and modeling of stand dynamics. These will enable managers to project more realistic scenarios when considering vegetation management or the effects of anticipated disturbances.

Past Research

My background and past research has primarily been in the areas of forest management and quantitative silviculture.

Why This Research is Important

The FIA program covers all forest types on all land owverships of the U.S. Because of this comprehensive coverage, it is possible to make generalizations about the status and trends of U.S. forest land that are not possible using smaller, localized datasets. Therefore, forest issues and characteristics that are described at smaller scales can be set in the context of all U.S. forests. While FIA data are primarily designed for long-term, broad-scale analysis and reporting, they can be used for a wide variety of analysis and reporting applications. FIA data can be brought to bear on basic research questions that cannot be definitively addressed using shorter temporal or smaller geographic time scales. FIA data permit testing of study results that have been done at limited scales, resulting in better understanding of the range of inference that is appropriate for those studied. Similarly, a variety of hypotheses may also be tested, without the need to initiate stand-alone studies.


  • University of Alaska-Fairbanks, B.S., Natural Resources Management, 1991
  • University of Alaska-Fairbanks, M.S., Natural Resources Management, 1994
  • Utah State University, Ph.D., Forest Ecology, 2001
  • Featured Publications


    Parks, Sean A.; Dobrowski, Solomon Z.; Shaw, John D.; Miller, Carol L., 2019. Living on the edge: Trailing edge forests at risk of fire-facilitated conversion to non-forest
    Shaw, John D.; Menlove, James S.; Witt, Christopher; Morgan, Todd A.; Amacher, Michael C.; Goeking, Sara A.; Werstak, Charles E. , Jr., 2018. Arizona’s forest resources, 2001-2014
    Truettner, Charles; Anderegg, William R. L.; Biondi, Franco; Koch, George W.; Ogle, Kiona; Schwalm, Christopher; Litvak, Marcy E.; Shaw, John D.; Ziaco, Emanuele, 2018. Conifer radial growth response to recent seasonal warming and drought from the southwestern USA
    Witt, Christopher; DeRose, R. Justin; Goeking, Sara A.; Shaw, John D., 2018. Idaho’s forest resources, 2006-2015
    Berg, Erik C.; Simmons, Eric A.; Hayes, Steven W.; Morgan, Todd A.; Shaw, John D., 2018. Logging utilization in Montana, 2011-2016
    Klesse, Stefan; DeRose, R. Justin; Guiterman, Christopher H.; Lynch, Ann M.; O'Connor, Christopher D.; Shaw, John D.; Evans, Margaret E. K., 2018. Sampling bias overestimates climate change impacts on forest growth in the southwestern United States
    McIver, Chelsea P.; Sorenson, Colin B.; Morgan, Todd A.; Shaw, John D., 2018. Wyoming’s forest products industry and timber harvest, 2014: Part I: Timber harvest, products, and flow
    McIver, Chelsea P.; Sorenson, Colin B.; Morgan, Todd A.; Shaw, John D., 2018. Wyoming’s forest products industry and timber harvest, 2014: Part II: Industry sectors, capacity, and outputs
    McIver, Chelsea P.; Marcille, Kate C.; Morgan, Todd A.; Shaw, John D., 2018. Wyoming’s forest products industry and timber harvest, 2014: Part III: Sales, employment, and economic contribution
    McIver, Chelsea P.; Sorenson, Colin B.; Morgan, Todd A.; Shaw, John D., 2018. Wyoming’s forest products industry and timber harvest, 2014: Part IV: Supplemental tables
    DeRose, R. Justin; Shaw, John D.; Goeking, Sara A.; Marcille, Kate; McIver, Chelsea P.; Menlove, James S.; Morgan, Todd A.; Witt, Christopher, 2018. Wyoming’s forest resources, 2011-2015
    Shaw, John D.; Goeking, Sara A.; Menlove, James S.; Werstak, Charles E. , Jr., 2017. Assessment of fire effects based on Forest Inventory and Analysis data and a long-term fire mapping data set
    DeRose, R. Justin; Shaw, John D.; Long, James N., 2017. Building the Forest Inventory and Analysis Tree-Ring Data set
    Carter, Vachel A.; Brunelle, Andrea; Minckley, Thomas A.; Shaw, John D.; DeRose, R. Justin; Brewer, Simon, 2017. Climate variability and fire effects on quaking aspen in the central Rocky Mountains, USA
    Thompson, Michael T.; Shaw, John D.; Witt, Christopher; Werstak, Charles E. , Jr.; Amacher, Michael C.; Goeking, Sara A.; DeRose, R. Justin; Morgan, Todd A.; Sorenson, Colin B.; Hayes, Steven W.; Menlove, James S., 2017. Colorado's forest resources, 2004-2013
    Schwalm, Christopher R.; Anderegg, William R. L.; Michalak, Anna M.; Fisher, Joshua B.; Biondi, Franco; Koch, George; Litvak, Marcy; Ogle, Kiona; Shaw, John D.; Wolf, Adam; Huntzinger, Deborah N.; Schaefer, Kevin; Cook, Robert; Wei, Yaxing; Fang, Yuanyuan; Hayes, Daniel; Huang, Maoyi; Jain, Atul; Tian, Hanqin, 2017. Global patterns of drought recovery
    Hanna, John W.; Warwell, M. V.; Maffei, H.; Fairweather, M. L.; Blodgett, J. T.; Zambino, P. J.; Worrall, J.; Burns, K. S.; Jacobs, J. J.; Ashiglar, S. M.; Lundquist, J. E.; Kim, M. -S.; Ross-Davis, Amy; Hoffman, C.; Mathiasen, R.; Hofstetter, R.; Shaw, John D.; Pitman, E. W. I.; Nelson, E. V.; McDonald, Geral I.; Cleary, M. R.; Brar, S.; Richardson, B.; Klopfenstein, Ned B., 2016. Bioclimatic modeling predicts potential distribution of Armillaria solidipes and Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) under contemporary and changing climates in the interior western U.S.A
    Page, Douglas H.; Shaw, John D., 2016. Can aspen persist in conifer dominated forests?
    Ross-Davis, Amy; Stewart, Jane E.; Settles, Matt; Hanna, John W.; Shaw, John D.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Klopfenstein, Ned B., 2016. Fine-scale variability of forest soil fungal communities in two contrasting habitat series in northern Idaho, USA identified with microbial metagenomics
    Menlove, James S.; Shaw, John D.; Witt, Christopher; Werstak, Charles E. , Jr.; DeRose, R. Justin; Goeking, Sara A.; Amacher, Michael C.; Morgan, Todd A.; Sorenson, Colin B., 2016. Nevada's forest resources, 2004-2013
    Werstak, Charles E. , Jr.; Shaw, John D.; Goeking, Sara A.; Witt, Christopher; Menlove, James S.; Thompson, Mike T.; DeRose, R. Justin; Amacher, Michael C.; Jovan, Sarah; Morgan, Todd A.; Sorenson, Colin B.; Hayes, Steven W.; McIver, Chelsea P., 2016. Utah's forest resources, 2003-2012
    Garbarino, M.; Marzano, R.; Shaw, John D.; Long, J. N., 2015. Environmental drivers of deadwood dynamics in woodlands and forests
    Anderegg, W. R. L.; Schwalm, C.; Biondi, F.; Camarero, J. J.; Koch, G.; Litvak, M.; Ogle, K.; Shaw, John D.; Shevliakova, E.; Williams, A. P.; Wolf, A.; Ziaco, E.; Pacala, S., 2015. Pervasive drought legacies in forest ecosystems and their implications for carbon cycle models
    DeRose, R. Justin; Shaw, John D.; Long, James N., 2015. Spatiotemporal patterns of ring-width variability in the northern interior west
    Anderegg, William R. L.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Fisher, Rosie A.; Allen, Craig D.; Aukema, Juliann; Bentz, Barbara J.; Hood, Sharon; Lichstein, Jeremy W.; Macalady, Alison K.; McDowell, Nate; Pan, Yude; Raffa, Kenneth; Sala, Anna; Shaw, John D.; Stephenson, Nathan L.; Tague, Christina; Zeppel, Melanie, 2015. Tree mortality from drought, insects, and their interactions in a changing climate
    Ross-Davis, Amy; Settles, Matt; Hanna, John W.; Shaw, John D.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Klopfenstein, Ned B., 2015. Using a metagenomic approach to improve our understanding of Armillaria root disease
    Ross-Davis, Amy; Stewart, Jane E.; Hanna, John W.; Shaw, John D.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Jain, Terrie B.; Denner, Robert J.; Graham, Russell T.; Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Tirocke, Joanne M.; Kim, Mee-Sook; Klopfenstein, Ned B., 2014. Forest soil microbial communities: Using metagenomic approaches to survey permanent plots
    Goeking, Sara A.; Shaw, John D.; Witt, Christopher; Thompson, Michael T.; Werstak, Charles E. , Jr.; Amacher, Michael C.; Stuever, Mary; Morgan, Todd A.; Sorenson, Colin B.; Hayes, Steven W.; McIver, Chelsea P., 2014. New Mexico's forest resources, 2008-2012
    Hoffman, Christ W.; Mathiasen, Robert L.; Hofstetter, Richard W.; Fairweather, Mary Lou; Shaw, John D.; Hanna, John W.; Klopfenstein, Ned B., 2014. Survey for Armillaria by plant associations in northern Arizona
    Vacchiano, Giorgio; DeRose, R. Justin; Shaw, John D.; Svoboda, Miroslav; Motta, Renzo, 2013. A density management diagram for Norway spruce in the temperate Europe montane region
    Callahan, Colin M.; Rowe, Carol A.; Ryel, Ronald J.; Shaw, John D.; Madritch, Michael D.; Mock, Karen E., 2013. Continental-scale assessment of genetic diversity and population structure in quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)
    Ross-Davis, Amy; Kim, Mee-Sook; Stewart, Jane E.; Hanna, John W.; Shaw, John D.; Klopfenstein, Ned B., 2013. From diagnostics to metagenomics: Applications of DNA-based tools in forest pathology
    Wilson, B. Tyler; Conner, Ali; Christensen, Glenn; Shaw, John D.; Meade, Jason; Royer, Larry, 2012. A database strategy for new variables
    Hanna, John W.; Ashiglar, Sara; Case, Anna; Fairweather, Mary Lou; Hoffman, Chris; Kim, Mee-Sook; Maffei, Helen; Mathiasen, Robert; McDonald, Geral; Nelson, Erik; Ross-Davis, Amy; Shaw, John D.; Klopfenstein, Ned B., 2012. Armillaria root disease in the western USA
    Gray, Andrew N.; Brandeis, Thomas J.; Shaw, John D.; McWilliams, William H.; Miles, Patrick, 2012. Forest Inventory and Analysis Database of the United States of America (FIA)
    Kusbach, Tony; Shaw, John D.; Long, James; Van Miegroet, Helga, 2012. Habitat typing versus advanced vegetation classification in western forests
    Witt, Christopher; Shaw, John D.; Thompson, Michael T.; Goeking, Sara A.; Menlove, James S.; Amacher, Michael C.; Morgan, Todd A.; Werstak, Charles E. , Jr., 2012. Idaho's Forest Resources, 2004-2009
    Menlove, James S.; Shaw, John D.; Thompson, Michael T.; Witt, Christopher; Amacher, Michael C.; Morgan, Todd A.; Sorenson, Colin; McIver, Chelsea; Werstak, Charles E. , Jr., 2012. Montana's forest resources, 2003-2009
    Baker, Fred; Hansen, Mark; Shaw, John D.; Mielke, Manfred; Shelstad, Dixon, 2012. The incidence of dwarf mistletoe in Minnesota black spruce stands detected by operational inventories
    Mock, Karen E.; Callahan, Colin M.; Islam-Faridi, M. Nurul; Shaw, John D.; Rai, Hardeep S.; Sanderson, Stewart; Rowe, Carol A.; Ryel, Ronald J.; Madritch, Michael D.; Gardner, Richard S.; Wolf, Paul G., 2012. Widespread triploidy in western North American aspen (Populus tremuloides)
    Shaw, John D.; Long, James; Marzano, Raffaella; Garbarino, Matteo, 2012. Woody debris dynamics in Interior West forests and woodlands
    Thompson, Michael T.; Duda, Joseph A.; DeBlander, Larry T.; Shaw, John D.; Witt, Christopher; Morgan, Todd A.; Amacher, Michael C., 2010. Colorado's forest resources, 2002-2006
    DeRose, R. Justin; Shaw, John D.; Vacchiano, Giorgio; Long, James N., 2008. Improving longleaf pine mortality predictions in the Southern Variant of the Forest Vegetation Simulator
    Vacchiano, Giorgio; Shaw, John D.; DeRose, R. Justin; Long, James N., 2008. Inventory-based sensitivity analysis of the Large Tree Diameter Growth Submodel of the Southern Variant of the FVS
    Cole, Kenneth L.; Ironside, Kirsten E.; Arundel, Samantha T.; Duffy, Philip; Shaw, John D., 2008. Modeling future plant distributions on the Colorado Plateau: An example using Pinus edulis
    Pourreza, Morteza; Shaw, John D.; Zangeneh, Hoshang, 2008. Sustainability of wild pistachio (Pistacia atlantica Desf.) in Zagros forests, Iran
    Trailing edge forest Southern Rockies ecoregion
    Forests are an incredibly important resource across the globe, yet they are threatened by climate change through stressors such as drought, insect outbreaks, and wildfire. Trailing edge forests—those areas expected to experience range contractions under a changing climate—are of concern because of the potential for abrupt conversion to non-forest. However, broad-scale forest die-off and range contraction in trailing edge forests are unlikely to occur over short timeframes (<~25–50 years) without a disturbance catalyst (e.g., wildfire). As such, explicit attention to both climate and disturbance is necessary to understand how the distribution of forests will respond to climate change.
    Despite widespread and severe mortality, many acres of healthy conifer and hardwood forest remain in Colorado. Photo by J.D. Shaw
    The current inventory of Colorado’s forest is the first to use the complete set of Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plots across all ownerships and forest types. The inventory was completed at a time when Colorado forests were undergoing substantial change, primarily in the form of insect infestations in pine and spruce, but also because of drought. This report captures the current status and recent trends.  
    Western white pine is so named for the light color of its wood. The timber was used for everything from window and door frames to shelving, paneling, and furniture. Photo by Susan McDougall, USDA-NRCS Plants Database.
    A fundamental goal of biogeography is to understand the factors that drive spatial and temporal variability in forest growth across large areas. The Interior West Forest Inventory and Analysis program collected tree-ring data from thousands of plots that can be used to investigate controls on growth variability. Understanding the factors that control growth are important for managing species that could exhibit range shifts in response to climate warming.
    Interior West states showing FIA plots and plots with tree-ring data.
    Tree-ring data collected as part of the Forest Inventory and Analysis program in the Interior West is being assembled into a massive dataset with many tens- of thousands of trees. Given the underlying sampling approach to the Forest Inventory and Analysis grid, the tree-ring data collected can be used for many novel research applications.
    Tree rings record variations in climate, especially precipitation (photo by John Shaw)
    ​The availability of water is the most important factor affecting year-to-year variation in tree growth in most forest ecosystems. Some effects of drought, such as tree mortality, are obvious, but relatively little is known about non-lethal impacts. This study showed that drought impacts linger beyond the end of dry periods. Understanding this phenomenon is important to anyone who is interested in projecting future biomass of a forest or the rate of carbon sequestration, because accounting for it in projection models will bring the models closer to making realistic projections.
    Spruce beetles are a native insect that infest spruce forests.
    In recent decades, bark beetle disturbances are increasing in extent and severity across western forests. Causes and consequences of spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) infestation are important to the management of Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) forests. Forest Service scientists modeled the effects of increased temperatures and changing forest stand conditions, such as density and species composition, on the likelihood of spruce beetle infestation over time. Findings from this study are being incorporated into management guidelines for silviculturists who wish to mitigate spruce beetle infestation by modifying the density or composition of Engelmann spruce forests in the Interior West.
    Samples are stored in a climate-controlled facility for future study (photo by Roger Pilkington).
    Tree-ring studies are used for a wide variety of purposes, including the reconstruction of past climate. In 2009, the Interior West Forest Inventory and Analysis program started a project to inventory and archive approximately 11,000 increment cores collected in most of the Interior West states during periodic inventories of the 1980s and 1990s. 
    Puhlick et al. (2012) evaluated the influence of numerous abiotic and biotic factors on ponderosa pine regeneration densities in the southwestern United States. The study described here will use newly released soils data from the Forest Inventory and Analysis program to test the influence of soils and other variables on ponderosa pine seedling densities.
    This project will predict the potential distribution of Armillaria solidipes (A. ostoyae) under present and future climate scenarios across the interior Western United States. The three proposed elements of the project include:
    The Interior West Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program collects increment cores as part of regular monitoring. Ring-widths from these increment cores are being digitized and assembled into data products for biogeographical or climatological analyses.