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Bullard Spotlight: David Kittredge and Forest Management Decision-making

September 17, 2015
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Logs being loaded for transportation

Dave Kittredge, a Harvard Forest Bullard Fellow this year, brings experience in forestry, coupled with social science research background, to contribute to an improved understanding of humans in forest landscapes, specifically from the standpoint of forest management, harvesting, and ownership.

Kittredge serves on the faculty in the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst, and co-directs the Family Forest Research Center, a joint venture between UMass and the USDA Forest Service. Kittredge will be collaborating with HF ecologist Jonathan Thompson on further development of the Future Scenarios of Forest Change project, explicitly identifying the role of forest management decision-making, and how the multiple and unrelated actions of thousands of different private owners collectively influence future trajectories of forest in the northeast.

Some of their current work, for example, has identified that forest owners are often indifferent to the timber marketplace, and harvest randomly based on financial need, rather than waiting until the price is high. There are thresholds, however, beyond which owners do respond to a price stimulus.

“Harvard Forest is an excellent opportunity for collaboration,” Kittredge says, “because the scientists who model forests into the future recognize the value of including human behaviors and decision-making. I’m excited to take forest management data and expand it regionally through the landscape, and ahead into the future.” 

(Photo by Dave Kittredge.)

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