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Tara M. Barrett

Research Forester
Threat Characterization and Management
1133 N. Western Avenue
Wenatchee Forestry Sciences Lab
Wenatchee, WA 98801
United States
Current Research

My current research interest is focused on how forests in the western U.S. are changing over time, particularly with respect to climate and disturbance. Aspects of this topic that I'll be working on this year include: (1) working with other scientists to assess recent disturbances (fire, insects, disease, invasive plants, drought) in the western U.S. in in the context of forest sustainability; (2) improving techniques for predicting change in future habitat for different tree species; and (3) assessing recent changes in forests within California, Oregon, and Washington in relation to disturbances. 

Past Research

My past research includes spatial modeling of the effects of forest practices rules on economic returns and forest fragmentation; projecting landscape-level vegetation change; integrating prescribed fire and fuel treatments into general forest planning; developing methods for projecting regional forest change; and assessing status and change of forests in the Pacific West.

Research Interest
  • Forest planning
  • Forest modeling
  • Forest management
  • Biometrics
  • Spatial analysis
Why This Research Is Important

Disturbance processes in western forests - including climate change, insects, disease, fire, and invasive species - impact the sustainability of both forest ecosystem processes and ecosystem services. Increased understanding of how interacting disturbances are likely to affect forests, and detecting early changes, is crucial to making choices that increase the resiliency of western forests and forest-dependent communities.

  • University of California Berkeley, Ph.D., Wildland Resource Science (forest management), 1996
  • University of Wisconsin Madison, M.S., Land Resources, 1990
  • University of Wisconsin Madison, B.A., Computer Science, 1987
Professional Experience
  • Asst./Assoc. Professor of Forest Planning,  The University of Montana,  1996 - 2000
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Recent increases found in yellow-cedar in Alaska

Year: 2017
In most unmanaged forests in Alaska, yellow-cedar has recently increased, as measured by live tree basal area, and the average mortality rate has been relatively low.

Scientists Develop the First Estimates of Aboveground Carbon Flux and Storage in Trees Within the National Forests of Alaska

Year: 2013
While the Tongass National Forest had no detectable change in above-ground tree carbon, the Chugach National Forest had an average annual increase of 182,000 metric tons of carbon.

Disturbance and Regrowth in Southeast Alaska Forests Shows Spatial Patterning

Year: 2015
Southeast Alaska is gaining forest area on the northern side of mountain slopes, higher latitudes, and higher elevations while losing forest area on southern aspects and lower latitudes. Gains in forest area and biomass exceed the losses. Early detection of changes is helpful for understanding how f...