A Fieldweek Approach to Determine the Drivers of Forest Stress in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Absaroka Mountains, Wyoming July 2018, 2019, 2020

  • Speer, James J.H. (PI)
  • Kaye, Margot Wilkinson (CoPI)
  • Black, Bryan A. (CoPI)
  • Harley, Grant G. (CoPI)
  • Maxwell, R. Stockton (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The North American Dendroecological Fieldweek (NADEF), is an annual ten-day field-based activity that teaches the tools of dendrochronology, provides networking opportunities for students and professionals, and expands the benefits of dendrochronological records to forest managers. Support for NADEF will catalyze new activities focusing on understanding the mechanisms behind the increases in global forest mortality, which has become more widespread than has been documented in preceding centuries. Understanding the mechanisms behind this forest mortality is critical for the development of intelligent, timely, and science-driven management responses to these mortality events. The field weeks will provide professional development for approximately 120 participants over a three-year period while educating participants about management information needed to sustain these forests. The field week will continue its strong record for broadening gender and ethnic diversity among scholars in dendrochronology. Opportunities for undergraduate scholarships will be provided to students from underrepresented groups, and graduate research fellowships will help educate and train students in professional presentation of the findings from the field weeks.

NADEF has a 25-year history of bringing together a diverse group of scholars to learn cutting-edge dendrochronology science for the continuous improvement of research in the forestry sciences and the better management of forest resources. For this series of field weeks, participants will engage in five research projects that will focus on completing a fire history, insect-outbreak reconstructions, climate reconstructions, analyses of stand-age structure across an elevational gradient, and sclerochronology, which is the examination of annual rings in bony structures such as those found in clams and the ear bones of fish. Field week researchers will use innovative research techniques to examine quantitative wood anatomy (the examination of individual cells of growth in the tree rings) along with stable isotopes to tease apart relationships among climate, fire, and insect outbreaks on forest mortality. These research activities help participants to better understand the direction that these forests are naturally trending so that future conditions for these forests can be predicted more accurately and more effective forest management strategies can be implemented. Beyond these learning experiences, the field weeks provide networking opportunities for students and professionals and expand the benefits of dendrochronological records to forest managers.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date5/15/1810/31/22


  • National Science Foundation: $199,144.00


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