PhD Position: Forest Landscape Modeling of Fire Ecology, University of Missouri

The Department of Forestry at the University of Missouri is seeking a PhD graduate assistant to model effects of fuels treatments on reduction of fire risk and restoration of oak-pine forests in Central Hardwood Forest landscapes.  This position will be part of a team consisting of Drs. Hong He, Ben Knapp, and Brice Hanberry (Forestry), and Dr. John Kabrick (US Forest Service Northern Research Station) for a project funded
by the Joint Fire Science Program. The objective of the project is to determine how strategic landscape placement of fuels treatments can limit the severity of large wildfires to minimize fire risk and maximize ecological restoration of oak and pine forests and woodlands. We will use field-based studies from multiple
prescribed burn plots to quantify the effects of fuels treatments on forest composition and structure and to parameterize and validate the fire and fuels extension to the forest vegetation simulator (FVS-FFE) and LANDIS PRO.

We then will answer four questions through simulation of the following scenarios:
1) How does the amount and configuration of fuels treatments across landscapes influence intensity, rate of spread, or patterns of severity for subsequent large wildfires?,
2) How does fire risk vary with characteristics of fuels treatments, climatic variables, and environmental conditions?,
3) What landscape fuels treatment strategies are most effective at reaching restoration objectives for forest structure and composition?, and
4) How can landscape fuels treatment strategies maintain effectiveness over the short-term (<20 years), mid-term (20-50 years), and long-term (50-150 years)?

Requirements: Qualified applicants will have knowledge and skills in modeling programs such as LANDIS or FVS and computer programming skills (i.e. R, SAS, Python), as well as knowledge of forest ecology.  Applicants should have a M.S. in forestry, ecology, biology, or a closely related discipline, a GPA > 3.2, and combined verbal and quantitative GRE scores > 1100.  Position start date is January 2014.  Salary is competitive and includes health insurance and tuition waiver.  Review of applications begins immediately and continues until the positions are filled.

To Apply: Please submit an application including 1) a cover letter describing your interest and experience in these areas, 2) a resume, and 3) names and contact information of three references, 4) copies of transcripts and GRE scores (unofficial at this time are acceptable).
Submit applicaiton to:
Hong S. He (advisor)
Department of Forestry
University of Missouri
203 Natural Resources Building
Columbia, MO 65211


Brice Hanberry
Department of Forestry
University of Missouri
203 Natural Resources Building
Columbia, MO 65211

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