Studies in Forest Change Through Time and Space
Jim Bouldin, PhD
Research Ecologist
Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis

Hello, I hope you get something useful from this site (eventually)! This site is new and under construction: I will be adding material to it as I can.

I work on questions related to forest changes over large scales of time and space. Most of my work has been on landscape-scale forest demographic changes in response to human activities over the last 150 or so years. By "demographic" I mean changes in things like the number, size, and species, of forest trees. This work was initially focused on California's Sierra Nevada. Recently I have expanded it to include certain areas of the Great Lakes, namely Minnesota, which like California, has a wide variety of forest environments and types, a complex and diverse vegetation, and a large number of working ecologists studying its vegetation and related ecosystem elements and processes.

A related ongoing research topic (and the one currently occupying most of my time) involves the evaluation and creation of methods for analyzing the very important General Land Office (GLO) Bearing Tree (BT) data. These include empirical data from Minnesota, as well as simulated data under a variety of spatial patterns, to determine the amount and types of bias in these data, and to develop methods to detect and correct these biases to the extent possible. In addition to these computer analyses, I am using field-based methods to evaluate GLO data from the Sierra Nevada. These include investigations into surveyor data collection tendencies in Yosemite National Park, and change detection studies based on the original, and newly collected, data. An interesting sidelight to the investigation of GLO data has been investigations into early land surveys. In California, there were severe problems with outright fraud, and it has been interesting to track the locations of these fraudulent surveys, particularly in the Sierra Nevada.

I am quite interested also, in the dynamic relationship between climate, fire, hydrologic patterns, and major vegetation types, particularly the forest/woodland/shrubland dynamic. This is very likely to become a major ecological issue, especially in California, if predicted climate change scenarios materialize in the future.