Under the auspices of Dr. Heather D. Alexander, the Mississippi State University Forest and Fire Ecology Lab studies the causes and consequences of shifting forest composition and changing successional trajectories due to altered disturbance regimes, especially fire. Our research focuses on three main issues: (1) How has fire suppression changed forest dominance in upland oak forests of the eastern U.S., and what are the implications for forest resources and future forest flammability? (2) How has increased wildfire severity in larch forests of the Siberian Arctic influenced tree recruitment, forest structure, and carbon cycling? and (3) What strategies are most effective at restoring thornscrub forest habitat in drylands of South Texas?
Much of our work uses field-based experimental manipulations to test hypotheses about how individual tree species traits influence forest function. We work with forest managers and wildlife biologists to address complex emerging issues relating to changing climate, fire disturbances, habitat fragmentation, and forest restoration with an aim to foster a basic understanding of forest ecosystem function in a changing world.
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