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Ann M. Lynch

Research Entomologist
Forest and Woodland Ecosystems
1215 E Lowell St
Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research
Tucson, AZ 85721-0045
United States
Current Research

My principle research involves understanding insect disturbance ecology in Southwestern high elevation forests. My goals are to determine the effects of climate and human activities on historical and contemporary disturbance regimes and ecosystem stability, and to determine the causes of, and climate associated with, contemporary severe and anomalous insect outbreaks. Individual studies include dendrochronologically reconstructing fire, insect outbreak, logging, and climate effects on tree population dynamics at the mountain range scale; investigating the ecology and impact of emergent (native but previously innocuous) and range-expansive insect pests. I am also involved with investigating the ecology and impact of the exotic and invasive spruce aphid in western North American montane and maritime ecosystems, where it threatens ecosystem stability and biodiversity.

Past Research
  1. Developed tree-ring methodology and used that methodology to reconstruct multi-century chronologies of western spruce budworm outbreaks in Colorado & New Mexico, providing scientists with key methodology to investigate the long-term temporal variability of forest insect outbreaks, and providing managers with information on temporal and spatial variability in western spruce budworm, including information about outbreak frequency, duration, extent, and response to change in forest condition.
  2. Developed hazard-rating systems for spruce budworm and pales weevil, allowing managers to assess the probability of resource damage.
  3. Developed statistically sound sampling strategies for spruce budworm and western spruce budworm damage, allowing pest managers to accurately estimate populations and their damage.
  4. Characterized spruce budworm outbreak severity associations with different ecological factors in northern Michigan, providing resource managers with information on hazard relationships that they could use to mitigate the effects of this insect.
Research Interest

My research interests are focused on disturbance ecology of western forest insects, high elevation disturbance ecology, climate change effects, fire exclusion effects, insect impact assessment, modeling, decision support systems, and the Sky Island mountain ecosystems of the Southwest.

Why This Research Is Important

My research is important because it provides managers with information about the effects of legacy conditions, past disturbance events, climate and human activities on Southwestern historical and contemporary disturbance regimes and ecosystem stability. It develops tools for quantifying and assessing insect effects, and informs predictive models. Southwestern ecosystems are especially vulnerable to climate- and human-induced changes because of their southern latitude and vertical landscape connectivity, and because of their history of fire exclusion. Managers need this information in order to develop adaptive management strategies that promote forest health and resiliency, and to mitigate the negative effects of future disturbances and climate change. My research on spruce aphid is important because it provides information needed to mitigate negative effects and to develop control strategies.

  • University of Michigan, M.F., Forest Biometrics, 1984
  • University of Michigan, Ph.D., Natural Resources (Entomology/ Pest Management), 1984
  • University of Michigan, M.S., Natural Resources (Entomology/ Pest Management ), 1981
  • Pennsylvania State University, B.S., Forest Science, 1977
Professional Experience
  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Dendrochronology,  The University of Arizona, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research,  2006 - Current
    Tucson AZ
  • Research Entomologist,  US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station,  1987 - Current
    Currently in Tucson AZ, but previously in Flagstaff AZ and Fort Collins CO
  • Assistant Professor of Watershed Management (Forest Resources Management),  The University of Arizona, School of Renewable Natural Resources,  1985 - 1987
    Tucson AZ
  • Research Assistant in Forest Entomology,  The University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources,  1980 - 1987
    Iron River and Ann Arbor MI
  • Regional Plans and Operations Forester,  Weyerhaeuser Company, Oklahoma Region,  1978 - 1979
    Wright City OK
  • Professional Intern I (Entomology),  Weyerhaeuser Company, Southern Forestry Research Center,  1978 - 1978
    Hot Springs AR
  • Professional Intern I (Forest Regeneration),  Weyerhaeuser Company, Western Forestry Research Center,  1977 - 1978
    Centralia WA
  • Field Research Assistant,  The Pennsylvania State University, Entomology Department,  1976 - 1976
    University Park PA
  • Technical Assistant,  The Pennsylvania State University, Entomology Department, Gypsy Moth Technical Information Project,  1975 - 1976
    University Park PA
  • Laboratory Technician in Microbiology,  Behrend College, The Pennsylvania State University,  1973 - 1975
    Erie PA
Awards & Recognition
  • Performance Award, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2013
    For superior performance, 2012.
  • Certificate of Merit, Coronado N.F., 2012
    For Resource Management: in recognition of outstanding work performed for the forest vegetation sections of the Draft Revised Forest Plan & DEIS, which has been recognized by the Regional Office as "the best that they have seen".
  • Certificate of Merit, Rocky Mountain Forest & Range Experiment Station, 1998
    For outstanding technology transfer in the form of participation in scientific meetings and work conferences in the field of forest entomology.
  • Certificate of Merit, Rocky Mountain Forest & Range Experiment Station, 1988
    For continuous dedication to excellence in forestry education.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Alumni Society of the University of Michigan, 1986
    Alumni Society of the School of Natural Resources
  • Donald M. Matthews Award in Forest Management, University of Michigan, 1984
    Faculty of the School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan
  • Samuel A. Graham Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Forest Biology and Superior Writing Capability, 1983
    Faculty of the School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan
  • Traveling Scholar, CIC Michigan State University, 1982
    Committee on Institutional Cooperation, Michigan State University.
  • Xi Sigma Pi, 1982
    Eta Chapter 1976, Upsilon Chapter 1989. National forestry honor society.
  • National Honor Society, 1972
    Recognition of outstanding student achievement in (high school)
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Forests transformed by fire exclusion help us understand climate resilience

Year: 2018
Fire exclusion can cause rapid changes to forest species composition and structure. These changes can make a forest more susceptible to drought, insects, and extreme fire. By restoring fire as an ecosystem process to some forests, we may be able to reduce their vulnerability to these conditions. 

Wildfires in Southern Arizona are More Severe but Not Bigger

Year: 2014
Scientists found that wildfires prior to 1880 burned about 70 percent of the landscape every 20 years. Since 1880 and the onset of fire exclusion, 70 percent of the landscape has not burned at all. In comparing the scientific data, scientists found that wildfires in southern Arizona have not increas...