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Wade Tinkham

Wade Tinkham
Research Forester
Forest and Woodland Ecosystems
240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526-2098
United States
Current Research
I recently completed development of an unmanned aerial system (UAS) assisted forest inventory method for characterizing individual tree locations, heights, diameters, and crowns in open canopy forests like those dominated by ponderosa pine. Now I am working to expand the feasibility of these methods to denser forest systems by merging below canopy remote sensing with UAS observations. With my collaborators, we are working to make UAS-derived forest inventory data accessible for management planning. I also work with fire scientists, geographers, and silviculturists to understand plant response to disturbance. This work currently includes:
  • Developing individual tree fire severity assessment methods using UAS.
  • Assessing the process and pattern of tree regeneration in high severity fire patches through satellite remote sensing.
  • Evaluating the potential of different lodgepole pine seed sources to perform under projected climates in Colorado.
  • Testing and improving forest growth and yield models for characterizing tree and stand dynamics.
Past Research
My previous research has included evaluating the reliability of LiDAR-derived forest maps, understanding fire ecology and modeling from individual trees to landscapes, and testing and improving the Forest Vegetation Simulator's ability to characterize forest growth. All of these efforts have worked to provide decision support tools for managers.
Research Interest
My research interests center on improving the reliability of data and tools available to managers to support decision making. To accomplish this, my research includes creating novel forest inventory techniques, unlocking new forest ecology knowledge through this data, and improving forest modeling capabilities.
Why This Research Is Important

Forest managers are increasingly trying to include spatially explicit objectives, such as wildlife habitat improvement, in management plans. To do this, managers require forest inventory data at improved spatial extents than traditional forest inventories can provide. Hybridizing UAS and field observations seems to provide both a resolution and extent of observations capable of providing traditional inventory metrics, but also the spatial tree pattern information for contemporary management planning.

  • University of Idaho, Ph.D., Natural Resources; Biometrics/Remote Sensing, 2013
  • University of Idaho, M.S., Forest Science, 2010
  • Washington State University, B.S., Forest Management, 2008
Professional Experience
  • Research Forester,  Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture,  2022 - Current
  • Assistant Professor of Forest Biometrics,  Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Colorado State University,  2016 - 2022
  • Postdoctoral Fellow,  Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Colorado State University,  2013 - 2016
  • Graduate Reseach and Teaching Assistant,  University of Idaho,  2008 - 2013
Featured Publications
Other Publications