Collaborations and Partnerships

PNW-PSP data are a fundamental component of studies conducted by our research partners and collaborators at other institutions. They are able to leverage the plot network and its data to further their research programs and secure outside funding. In return, our collaborators provide invaluable assistance with data collection and data analyses. Moreover, the reports and publications they produce help diversify and expand the scope of PNW-PSP, as exemplified by the stories below.


The Effects of Climate Change on Plant Communities at Mt. Rainier

For the past nine years, Dr. Janneke Hille Ris Lambers and her students at the University of Washington have been using the permanent plot network at Mt. Rainier National Park to study how climate change may affect the altitudinal range limits of forested plant communities in comparison to other factors such as competitive interactions or edaphic conditions of a site.  For more information: http://faculty.washington.edu/jhrl/Research.html


Mt. Rainier research: Crew from the University of Washington conducts a seedling census at Mt. Rainier (left); contour plot of tree basal area (cm2) from permanent plot AB08 (right, image courtesy of Stuart Graham).

Old-growth, Disturbance, and Legacies: Fraser Experimental Forest, Colorado

Dr. Brian Harvey has resurrected the historic Wilm/Dunford plots at Fraser Experimental Forest in Colorado, first established in 1938 and last measured in 2004. In 2018, Dr. Harvey and his team measured and stem-mapped more than 9,000 trees (!) in the plots to begin exploring how tree mortality caused by the mountain pine beetle is influencing the long-term successional trajectories and fuel loading of thinned and unthinned high-elevation forests.  FMI: https://depts.washington.edu/bjhlab/disturbance-ecology-interior-douglas-fir/

Stem mapping at Fraser Experimental Forest. Photo credit: Brian Harvey

Species Distributions in Temperate Rainforests

Dr. Carrie Woods from the University of Puget Sound studies the distribution and diversity of non-vascular epiphytes on trees of the Olympic Peninsula and elsewhere. One facet of this research is looking at long-term demography of tree seedlings and saplings in relation to moss communities on nurse logs and the forest floor in three PNW-PSP permanent plots on the Olympic Peninsula.

FMI: https://www.pugetsound.edu/stories/detail/moss-goggles-summer-research-gives-biology-students-a-close-up-view-of-the-field?

Seedlings of western hemlock marked for long-term monitoring in a permanent plot on the Olympic Peninsula.  Photo credit: Carrie Woods.

Patterns of Biodiversity and Mechanisms of Community Assembly

Dr. Joseph LaManna (Marquette University) is leveraging the permanent plot network at the HJ Andrews for his cutting-edge research. See story under “What’s New”Vaccinium






Photo credit: Lina DiGregorio


Long-Term Studies of Secondary Succession in Douglas-fir Forests of the Pacific Northwest

Since the late-1980s, Dr. Charles Halpern (UW) has overseen a long-term study on secondary plant succession in two watersheds at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest. In the 1960s, the entirety of Watershed 1 at HJA was clearcut and broadcast-burned; Watershed 3 was patch cut and burned. Beginning in 1979, understory plant communities and the developing forest were censused on regular intervals. Using this extensive data set, Dr. Halpern and his colleagues have published numerous peer-reviewed papers on succession-related topics including species diversity, tree mortality, biomass accumulation and ecological theory. FMI: http://faculty.washington.edu/chalpern/HJA.htm

 Watershed 1 forest

Phantom orchid (Cephalanthera austiniae) and the Douglas-fir forest in Watershed 1.  Photo credits: Rob Pabst, Charlie Halpern.

Long-term Effects of Severe Fire on a High-Elevation Forest in Oregon

Dr. Steve Acker and Jane Kertis, ecologists with the US Forest Service, are the lead investigators on a study to track long-term recovery of a high-elevation forest following high-severity wildfire. This collaborative study, now in its 20th year at the Torrey-Charlton Research Natural Area in the Willamette National Forest, has led to insights on snag dynamics, post-fire fuel loads, and the rates of at which high-elevation forests regenerate following fire (see publications).

Standings snags of mountain hemlock in 2011, 15 years after the Charlton Fire.  Photo credit: Rob Pabst