Campus & Community

Harvard Forest names Bullard Fellows

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The Harvard Forest has recently announced nine Charles Bullard Fellows in Forest Research for 2008-09. Established in 1962, the Bullard Fellowship program was created to support the study and advanced research of individuals looking to make important contributions as scholars or administrators in forestry.

This year’s fellows were selected from a large pool of international applicants and their interests cover a broad array of forest-related subjects. Each fellow will spend one to two semesters conducting research in Cambridge or in Petersham, Mass., at the Harvard Forest.

The fellows, supported by an endowment from Charles Bullard, interact with faculty and students, give seminars, participate in conferences and symposia, and avail themselves to Harvard’s research resources while they are in residence at the University.

“The Harvard community benefits immensely from the presence of the outstanding scholars and fellows supported by the Bullard program,” said David R. Foster, director of the Harvard Forest and chair of the Bullard Fellowship committee. “The breadth of research encompassed by this year’s class of scholars is vast, ranging from conservation, tropical, and soil microbial ecology, to forest history and management to conservation policy to regional land-use change scenario modeling.”

The 2008-09 Charles Bullard Fellows

Stephen Blackmer is president and founder of the Northern Forest Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a sustainable economy, revitalizing local communities, and protecting landscapes of the Northeast. During his time as a Charles Bullard Fellow, Blackmer will collaborate with researchers at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Forest, developing conservation and social change strategies to increase social, economic, and ecological resilience in a world dealing with rapid climate change.

Xiaojun Du, a forest ecologist at the Institute of Botany in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, researches interspecific associations related to the structure and dynamics of ecosystems. During his 12-month fellowship, Du will use long-term census data from tree plots in Barro Colorado Island, Panama, and Malaysia to examine interspecific associations and their relationships with species distributions over the past several decades. He will work closely with scientists Stuart Davies and Peter Ashton from the Arnold Arboretum, and with David Orwig and Foster from Harvard Forest.

Serita Frey, a soil microbial ecologist at the University of New Hampshire, examines how global change affects the composition and diversity of soil microbial communities, as well as microbial-mediated carbon and nitrogen cycles. During her six-month fellowship at the Harvard Forest, Frey will collaborate with Anne Pringle in organismic and evolutionary biology, and will extend her research in the Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, examining the effects of soil warming and nitrogen fertilization on microbial metabolism.

Carlos Garcia, a forest ecologist at the Institute of Ecological Sciences, University of the Andes in Venezuela, will research the mechanisms that allow tree establishment in environments characterized by stressful light conditions. During his nine-month fellowship, he will collaborate with Noel Michele Holbrook, working in the Holbrook Laboratory at Harvard’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.

Matts Lindbladh, a forest history and conservation researcher at Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences, will be collaborating with Wyatt Oswald and Foster during his four-month fellowship at the Harvard Forest on a LTER project that examines the postglacial and recent dynamics of New England vegetation as a consequence of climate change and human activity.

Nophea Sasaki is a forest ecologist at the University of Hyogo in Japan. Sasaki studies forest management in the context of climate change policy, with an emphasis on the role of improved forest management in carbon sequestration in Japanese and tropical forests. During his seven-month stint as a Charles Bullard Fellow, Sasaki will collaborate with David Kittredge on the estimation of the potential reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries.

Bill Sobczak, a stream biogeochemist and ecologist at Holy Cross College, is studying the fate of terrestrial-derived organic matter and aquatic primary production in a variety of aquatic ecosystems. At the Harvard Forest, Sobczak will study organic matter dynamics in watersheds with different forest composition and hydrology. His research will advance LTER studies with the Harvard Forest’s Emery Boose and Yale University’s Peter Raymond.

Debabrata Swain is the conservator of forests in Berhampur Circle, India. His research interests include understanding past and present human impacts on tropical deciduous forests. During his 12-month fellowship, Swain will work closely with Foster to address historical human demographic, sociological, and ecological trends in order to prepare a sociological and ecological evaluation aimed at future management reform of Similipal National Park.

Jonathan Thompson, a forest ecologist and ecological modeler from Oregon State University, will collaborate with Foster, Kittredge, Paul Moorcroft, and other colleagues to advance the use of future scenarios to guide research and conservation activities in New England and across the United States LTER Network. In the regional effort, Thompson will simulate forest dynamics, timber harvest, land development, and other land-use changes over the next 50 years in order to project changes in important ecosystem services including carbon storage, water availability, wildlife habitat, and conservation status.

For more information about the Bullard Fellowship program, visit