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June 14, 2013
By Mike Wolterbeek
Franco Biondi, a professor in the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, has been awarded a prestigious fellowship to conduct research at Harvard University's 3,500-acre forest research laboratory, Harvard Forest.
Biondi will spend eight months as a Charles Bullard Fellow in Forest Research, completing a book on dendroecology and collaborating with David Orwig, forest ecologist at Harvard Forest, on the topic of measuring, reconstructing and predicting forest-stand dynamics under changing climate and disturbance regimes.
Biondi is a professor of geography who specializes in the application of tree-ring science to the study of climate, forest and landscape dynamics.
Using data from his past and current research projects in the Great Basin of North America, he will investigate the use of Bayesian statistics and other advanced tools, such as Gary King's "ecological inference" approach, to scale up from individual tree growth patterns measured at sub-hourly time scales to site-wide, century-long tree-ring chronologies and to regional indices of forest growth and ecosystem productivity.
In the book he discusses methods to quantify uncertainty in reconstructions of historical environmental change (including climate) while emphasizing that modern ecosystems cannot be understood from the present alone.
The Charles Bullard fellowship program, established in 1962, supports advanced research and study by individuals who show promise of making an important contribution, either as scholars or administrators, to forestry and forest-related subjects including biology, earth sciences, economics, politics, administration, philosophy, humanities, the arts or law. It is a highly competitive program that only accepts five to seven recipients a year from a large applicant pool.
"The Harvard community benefits immensely from the presence of the outstanding scholars and fellows supported by the Bullard program," said David R. Foster, director of Harvard Forest and chair of the Bullard Fellowship committee. "The breadth of research encompassed by this year's class of scholars is vast, ranging from sustainable forest management to computer science, from cell biology to reconstructions of past environmental change."
This year's Bullard Fellows represent a broad array of forest-related subjects. The six distinguished practitioners and academics from across the United States and around the globe will spend one to two semesters conducting research based in Cambridge, Mass., or at the Harvard Forest in Petersham.
For more information about Biondi visit his website at http://wolfweb.unr.edu/homepage/fbiondi/ and for more information on the Bullard Fellowship please visit http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/Bullard-Announce.