CORVALLIS - Two studies by a forest scientist at Oregon State University have received $2.4 million in funding to learn more about the effects of climate, logging, wildfire and other changes on the carbon balance of Oregon and northern California, and explore the role of forests, grasslands, crops and shrub lands in global climate change.
Beverly Law, a professor of forest science at OSU and science chair of the large Ameriflux network of research sites across North America and South America, is the principal investigator on both of these projects.
Law is an international expert on the potential consequences of changing climate patterns and land management on the function of forests and other vegetation.
She was the primary ecologist on a recent report issued by the National Research Council, which concluded that the regulatory structure of the Clean Air Act could be more coherent, and that global warming should be considered when examining restrictions on various pollutants and assessing how bad various pollution problems in forests and agricultural crops may be in coming years.
As part of this work, one of Law's projects with the Ameriflux network received $1.1 million to lead the research direction and produce network-wide evaluations of responses of vegetation and soils to climate variation and human-induced disturbances.
Another $1.3 million grant will try to quantify the carbon stocks and annual carbon uptake by forests, shrub and crop lands in Oregon and California, and determine the effects of different management practices and land use in this region that is influenced by wildfire, logging, and urbanization. It will also study the effects of interannual climate variation on carbon and water cycling across this seasonally drought affected region.
The study uses state-of-the-art micrometeorological tools, satellite remote sensing of vegetation characteristics, and models to map the carbon balance of the region.