Research and Teaching

I am an Assistant Professor in Forest Management and Silviculture at the Department of Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences (NRES) at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. As a forest ecologist, I am interested in understanding forest ecosystem function, biogeochemical cycles and disturbance dynamics in forests facing environmental change. Forest management plays an important role in controlling the stand biomass stock and therefore that of carbon. Thus, it is impossible to understand global terrestrial carbon sink without understanding forest demography.

With a background in forest ecology and management, I am interested in identifying and developing real-world solutions to natural resource management in working forests across the West. To that end, my current research focuses on identifying evidence-based environmental solutions (natural climate solutions) for carbon management from the perspective of silviculture and forest soil management, as well as finding ways of connecting practical forest management with carbon offset markets.

In addition to my wonderful job as an educator and college professor, I serve as a member in the Society of American Foresters Committee on Forest Policy and as the Vice-Chair of the Early Career Section of Ecological Society of America.

My past research in Prof. Laura Dee’s lab at CU Boulder focused on identifying evidence-based environmental solutions and natural climate solutions for carbon management from the perspective of silviculture and forest soil management in the Great Lakes region. This research was supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and done in partnership with The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota (Dr. Meredith Cornett), USDA Forest Service and University of Minnesota’s Carbon Science Group.

As an educator, I want to design classes (and tools within) that are relevant and informative, and support student learning. At CalPoly, I teach classes in forestry and silviculture, which include a strong field component, including Silviculture and Fuels ManagementForest Stewardship Practices and Senior Project in Forestry. I also serve as an advisor/faculty mentor for senior (undergraduate) and graduate research projects.

I am also the previous pod leader for 500 Women Scientist, a grassroots organization dedicated to making science open, inclusive and accessible, in Los Angeles, CA.

(Photo credit: Lilli Kaarakka)