Michigan Technological University

Our interactions and activities in the Framework: 

The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) is a charter member of the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS). We directly support the Climate Change Response Framework through NIACS staff members that work full time on Framework projects. Additionally, many of the School’s faculty and staff contribute their research and expertise to many Framework products.

Our broader climate change activities and perspectives: 

The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science is committed to developing forest management strategies and approaches for climate change adaptation, enhanced carbon sequestration, and sustainable production of bioenergy and materials. Michigan Tech seeks enhanced communication between land managers, policy-makers, and scientists and promotes applied science on carbon cycling, climate change monitoring, and forest response. Some of our many climate change-related activities include

National Institute for Climate Change Research (NICCR)

The goal of NICCR is to mobilize university researchers in the support of the climatic change research objectives of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research. The Midwestern Region is hosted by Michigan Tech.

Michigan Gradient – Long Term Nitrogen Deposition Study

Researchers at Michigan Tech, the University of Michigan, and the University of Idaho are adding nitrate to northern hardwood forests in Michigan to learn how this common forest type responds to chronic N additions. The Michigan Gradient study was established in 1987 and continues today with support from NSF.

Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment/Aspen FACE

Since 1998, the interacting effects of elevated CO2 and O3 on ecosystem processes in an aggrading northern forest ecosystem have been studied utilizing a free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) facility in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Effects of Climate Variation on the Ecohydrology of a Northern Hardwood Forest

Assistant Professor Molly Cavaleri is leading a study to examine the effects of short-term and long-term variation in climate on water use of trembling aspen and red maple. By exploring patterns of the past, the potential effects of future climate change on these species is better understood.

Fuel Consumption and Carbon Cycling in Northern Peatland Ecosystems

Assistant Professors Mike Falkowski and Evan Kane are leading a project to address the issue of increasing fire potential and severity in northern peatland systems by  understanding how peat moisture content influences the fire regime, ecosystem processes, and CO2 emissions in northern peatlands. This study links laboratory and field-based studies with airborne and satellite remotely sensed data to carefully characterize and monitor peat moisture content and thermal properties of peat fires. The resulting data will ultimately be employed to assess fire vulnerability and estimate CO2 emissions from peatland fires.

PEATcosm Experiment

Information from the PEATcosm Experiment will help us to predict how carbon stored in peatlands will respond to climate change, improving our ability to protect and manage peatlands, and to respond to climate change with effective adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Acclimation of Roots and Microbes to Soil Warming

The experiment examines the potential impact of adjustments in root system activity on ecosystem productivity and the potential for soil CO2 efflux to be a positive feedback contributing to greater atmospheric CO2 increase and warming.

Forest Loss Indicators

Associate Professor Audrey Mayer, Assistant Professor Mike Falkowski, and Professor Chris Webster are leading a project to identify indicators of forest loss and degradation, either due to human activity or climate change. Remote sensing and landscape metrics are used to measure changes in forest patch size distribution, which has proven to be a useful tool to examine the impact of land use change and habitat protection in the Zagros forests in western Iran.

Sugar Maple Dieback in the Upper Great Lakes Region

This research assesses the extent of the current dieback in maple and the rate of change over recent years.  A network of 120 plots on different ownerships in upper MI, WI, and MN is used to identify the dieback etiologies and relationships with climate, soil fertility, and management practices.  With these understandings, management guidelines will be developed for use in industry and public forests to help prevent, anticipate, reduce, or salvage stands of northern hardwoods with maple dieback in the future.

Sugar Maple Water Use in Response to Warming

Assistant Professor Molly Cavaleri is leading a study to investigate the effects of experimental warming and irrigation on the water use of a sugar maple dominated hardwood forest.  Tree transpiration rates and the depth at which trees access water using stable isotope techniques (2H and 18O) are measured to improve predictions about how sugar maple ecohydrological cycles may change with incipient climate change.