My interests

I conduct a wide array of basic and applied research that is integral to the effective stewardship of western US forests. This research is aimed at characterizing vegetation at population, community, and landscape scales, and at examining the interactions among vegetation, natural and human disturbances, and other factors. In my free time, I enjoy playing with my dogs, hiking, biking, skiing, and gardening.

How I became a scientist

I have always been interested in science and in being in the great outdoors. When I started college I chose to marry the two by pursuing a B.S. in environmental science, and I envisioned that I would enter the environmental consulting field after graduation. However, a vacation to the majestic forests of the Pacific Northwest just before the start of my junior year caused me to ultimately steer away from a career in environmental consulting and toward a career in forest ecology.

How my work benefits society

As a scientist for the USDA Forest Service, I feel that it is important that my research be relevant to those who manage our society’s forest resources. For example, I am currently conducting research that is examining tree regeneration in ponderosa pine forests burned by severe wildfires, such as the 2002 Hayman Fire near Colorado Springs. Our results indicate that regeneration is generally only occurring in the vicinity of surviving trees, and suggest that planting is likely necessary where a forested condition is desired in the near future.