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Harvard Forest Welcomes New Senior Ecologist

Monday, October 21, 2013
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Jonathan Thompson at Harvard Forest

Jonathan Thompson has joined the Harvard Forest staff as a new Senior Ecologist. He comes to us from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, where he was a Research Scientist and Landscape Ecologist. Before joining the Smithsonian in 2009, Thompson spent two years as a Bullard Fellow and Research Associate here at Harvard Forest. He holds an undergraduate degree in forestry from the University of Massachusetts and a PhD from Oregon State University.

In addition to his major role in the Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research Program through the Future Scenarios project, Thompson maintains an active research program in the Pacific Northwest, focusing on landscape dynamics and fire. He is also involved with the Forest-GEO (Global Environmental Observatory) program, analyzing large forest plots at the Smithsonian and the Harvard Forest.  

In Thompson's own words: "I am a landscape ecologist, which means I study the ways ecosystems change over large areas and long timeframes. I'm particularly interested in how land use--including forest conversion to developed uses and different types of timber harvest--affect large forested landscapes. Sometimes my work is retrospective and relies on remote sensing or historical documents to quantify landscape changes. Other times it is prospective and I use computer models to simulate future forests. I began this work more than a decade ago in western Oregon, where I was searching for ways protect the remaining old-growth forests while also sustaining a viable timber economy. Now that I'm at Harvard Forest most of my time is spent working on the Future Scenarios Project. We are simulating different land use futures for Massachusetts, and eventually for all of New England."

 

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