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Advancing ecological science to support sustainable forest management.


Andrew J. Larson, Assistant Professor

I am interested in all aspects of forest ecology.  Because forest dynamics play out at decadal to centennial time scales, long-term studies figure prominently in my research.  The interface between science and management fascinates me, particularly the development of silvicultural tools to achieve forest restoration objectives and application of the scientific method to monitoring and adaptive management.  When I’m not in the classroom, lab, field or office I try to spend my time chasing elk, pack rafting, backpacking or mountaineering somewhere in the West.

Andrew's Google Scholar profile.

Andrew's College of Forestry and Conservation faculty profile.


Molly Barth, MS Student

I was born in San Francisco and lived there for 18 years before attending the University of Washington.  In 2010, I graduated with a BS in Forest Resources from UW and then took some time off before graduate school, during which I helped establish forest monitoring plots in Washington and Yosemite, skied 125 days in Tahoe, and hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail. What a journey! I am pursuing a master’s degree in forestry, and for my thesis I will be investigating changes in forest spatial structure in Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forests since the onset of fire suppression.  My interests involve anything to do with trees and mountains and playing amongst them – hiking, skiing, snowboarding, running, and biking. 


Taylor Hopkins, BS Student

I am currently a University of Montana undergraduate majoring in Resource Conservation. My life has thus far has been split between Anchorage, Alaska in my early years and Columbia Falls, Montana, since then. Seasonal work as a deep emersion trail crewman for the US Forest Service in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and for the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation has shaped my thinking from the clouds to forest. For my senior thesis I am conducting a comparative analysis of tree spatial patterns, woody debris loads, and tree regeneration in western larch forests following wildfire and ecological restoration, respectively. When not in school or work, I usually am out fly fishing, hiking, cooking, photographing, sailing, reading cheap paperbacks or staring out the window.



Colin Maher, PhD Student

Most of my research experience is in alpine and subalpine plant ecology. While an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, I did volunteer work on a bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) demography study and developed my thesis on factors affecting seedling survival. My current work is focused on a high-elevation conifer that is rapidly declining through much of its range due to white pine blister rust, mountain pine beetle and fire suppression: whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis). Specifically, I am examining the effects of silvicultural treatments designed to promote regeneration and to preserve cone-producing trees.






Eryn Schneider, PhD Student

I am an unlikely forester with a BS in Theology, an interest in health, and originating from the Great Plains. My MS in Forestry focused on establishing structural and spatial reference conditions for a productive, unharvested, old-growth ponderosa pine stand in northern Arizona. My research interests are in ecological modeling, ecosystem restoration and forest spatial patterns towards the goal of ecosystem health. Non academic endeavors include biking, rock climbing, running, dog walks, and when near the waves--surfing.





David Wright, PhD Student

My interests are the area of forest and wildlife ecology and management.  My formative years were spent in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada in California, where I enjoyed confines of the outdoors which lead to a career in ecology.  My educational and work background includes the areas of wildlife, silviculture, and forest and fire ecology and management.  I have traveled extensively in the United States working in many forest, shrub, and grassland ecosystems.  I am currently employed at the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forestry Sciences Lab here on the university campus as an ecologist studying forest and fire ecology.  Outside of study and work, my interests revolve around activities with my wife and two young children and when the spare moment of solitude does occur, I enjoy the outdoors by cycling, backpacking, and mountaineering.


Lab Alumni

Anton Gabrielson, BS 2012. Thesis: "Biomass and burning characteristics of sugar pine cones." Current position: Wilderness Ranger, North Cascades National Park.

Leo Brett, BS 2011. Thesis: "Modeling stand dynamics and landscape heterogeneity in mixed conifer forest following mountain pine beetle outbreak."  Current position: Silviculturist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Andrew Larson
Molly Barth
 Colin Maher
Eryn Schneider
 David Wright