2-Day Forest Vegetation Simulator Workshop

Yesterday, I completed a 2-day Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) workshop for (18) faculty and graduate studFVSWorkshopents here at NAU, and I’m beat. It was attended by four faculty, two postdocs, two manager and 10 graduate students.

Basically, I was approached by Kristen Waring, NAU’s Associate Professor of Silviculture, and asked if I’d be interested in conducting a FVS workshop a few weeks ago and saw it as an opportunity to “spread the love” with respect to FVS and ClimateFVS. The objective of the workshop was to introduce concepts of vegetation growth and yield modeling, specifically using FVS and to provide a brief introduction to ClimateFVS and the science behind these applications. The exercises emphasized the vast capabilities of FVS in simulating forest management alternatives and evaluating their potential impacts on forest structure, fire behavior, carbon accounting and under varying climate scenarios. I had intended to touch on openFVS, since the majority of my student use R, but I just ran out of time.

All in all it was fun and I especially enjoyed the questions and discussion. Feedback thus far has been entirely positive and if asked to do this again, I would.

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Advancing Forestry Education by Biting Off More than I Can Chew

DSC_0133It should come as no surprise that there is an ever-increasing demand for competent forestry graduates; especially those who able to address complex economic, ecological, and social issues involving forest resources. However, Forestry is a traditional discipline and often finds itself challenged to educate students using 21st century technology and sciences to solve these new problems.

Last semester, a senior faculty and I proposed providing forestry undergraduate students with a redesigned, senior-level course in Ecosystem Assessment that would maximize the use of mobile technology with the following course objectives: 1) students will have enhanced, forestry-centered learning opportunities in both the field and classroom, 2)these experiences will improve the way students visualize spatial and temporal aspects of a forest resources and landscapes; and 3)ensure NAU’s School of Forestry remains in the forefront of forestry education.

This Fall, in FOR 413 & 414C (Forest Ecosystem Assessment I & II) at NAU, 39 undergraduate students will be let loose carrying 20 Dell Latitude 10 tablets running Windows 8 to collect and analyze forest resource data from a 4-sq. mile area on NAU’s Centennial Forest.  These data will be collected over a five-week period using a FVS-ready Access database for tabular data and ArcPad 10.2 with the tablet’s built-in Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) for spatial data.

The students will use this technology to integrate material learned in prior forestry courses while learning and applying new concepts and skills focused on the interpretation of remotely sensed imagery, land records, and ownership limitations; use of geographic information systems (GIS) and field protocols for inventory of biophysical features; and simulation of potential stand development pathways.

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