Welcome to the Harvey Lab!
The Harvey Lab at the University of Washington conducts research along major frontiers in forest ecology by investigating how disturbances (e.g., fires or insect outbreaks) and climate change interact to shape forest ecosystems. A key theme is “resilience“; that is, the capacity of forest ecosystems to tolerate disturbance without shifting to alternative, non-forest states. We are also interested in how forest disturbances and management actions affect the maintenance and provision of ecosystem services. By testing and advancing theory in forest ecology, landscape ecology, and disturbance ecology, we connect scientific understanding to effective forest management.
In our research we use a variety of tools and methods, letting the interesting and important questions guide our approach. We strive to connect insights across spatial scales (e.g., trees –> tree-neighborhoods –> forest stands –> landscapes –> regions), temporal scales (e.g., hours –> days –> weeks –> years –> decades –> centuries), and gradients (e.g., elevation, land use, management context). Doing so allows us to link a deep understanding of natural history born in the field with “big data” streams available from networks of satellites and sensors.
Our study areas
Our research is primarily focused in conifer forests of western North America (with particular focus on forests in the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest), where forests span gradients in: elevation ranging from sea level to ~3500 m; human influence from heavily-managed plantations to protected wilderness; biophysical settings from rainforests to dry woodlands; and disturbance regimes from frequent (e.g., decadal) low-severity fires to infrequent (e.g., many centuries) high-severity fires. We utilize long-term research sites (e.g., NSF Long-term Ecological Research stations and USFS Experimental Forests), extensive networks of field plots across the western US, and publicly available geospatial data (e.g., satellite burn severity maps).