Speaker: Craig Allen

THE BREN SCHOOL OF Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara


Dr. Craig D. Allen

Research Ecologist & Station Leader

U.S. Geological Survey

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Bren Hall 1414

"Climate-Induced Forest Die-off, Fire, and Erosion as Synergistic Ecological Disturbances—Synthesis from Los Alamos (New Mexico) to the Globe"

Hosted by Christina Tague as part of ESM 237



Climate is a critical driver of core ecological disturbance processes, including forest dieback, fire, and erosion. These disturbances often interact synergistically across spatial scales, resulting in nonlinear dynamics with thresholds. Examples of cross-scale interactions among forest dieback, fire, and erosion are illustrated from northern New Mexico landscapes and from an emerging global data set of observations.  Projected climate changes will likely continue to amplify the effects of these disturbance processes in coming years, locally as well as globally. To better anticipate and mitigate accelerating human impacts to the planetary ecosystem at all spatial scales, improvements are needed in our conceptual and quantitative understanding of the cross-scale interactions and nonlinear dynamics among critical disturbance processes.


Craig D. Allen is a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and Station Leader of the Jemez Mountains Field Station based at Bandelier National Monument. He has worked in the Jemez Mountains as a place-based ecologist with the Department of Interior since 1986. Dr. Allen conducts research on the ecology and environmental history of southwestern landscapes, and on the responses of western mountain ecosystems to climate change. He also provides technical support in the areas of ecosystem management and restoration to Bandelier National Monument and other land management agencies in the region. Recent and ongoing research activities include: development of ecological and fire histories in the Southwest; responses of semi-arid forests and woodlands to drought; ecological effects of recent fires on southwestern landscapes; linked ecological, runoff, and erosion processes in piñon-juniper watersheds; ecological restoration of southwestern forests and woodlands; and development of long-term ecological monitoring networks across landscape gradients in the Jemez Mountains. He is one of the core principal investigators of the Western Mountain Initiative, an integration of research programs that study global change in mountain ecosystems of the western United States. Dr. Allen’s place-based ecological research approach is highlighted here.



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