Statement of purpose:
The forest sector is an important economic engine in the Southern United States, providing an important source of income in less affluent rural areas. However, the Southern U.S. forest sector is a very dynamic resource base that faces emerging challenges such as population growth and land use change pressures, natural hazards such as hurricanes and flooding, competition with agriculture, and long-term climate change impacts such as sea level rise and saltwater intrusion. In other to tackle these challenges, decision making in forest management requires accurate information for sustainable and effective management. As a doctoral student in the department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State University, I am interested in understanding how the forest product industry, forest product markets, and resource utilization trends in the U.S. may be affected by climate, socioeconomic, and policy change in the future. Developing forward-looking resource assessments that combine spatial-empirical techniques with modeling can help us understand these trends and evaluate policy design choices to improve sustainability outcomes.
Description of research:
My research will be focusing on the evaluation of how different climate mitigation incentives will change harvest patterns, forest planting, and management interventions in the Southeast United States. I am interested in quantifying the potential market outcomes of these investments. Specifically, I will be evaluating whether the forest sector climate mitigation in the South will result in local changes in wood supply costs or changes in forest product output at a mill level using a spatially explicit model of the United States forest sector. Furthermore, I intend to link this information with local census and employment statistics to understand the impacts of these climate investments on lower-income or marginalized populations in the Southeast region.
This research and the expected outcomes would fulfill both the mission and all three science priorities of the SE CASC: Priority 1 by providing forest managers, landowners, and forest product manufacturers with econometric and spatial models on how climate mitigation incentives and emerging climate threats affect forest resources management; Priority 2 by evaluating possible market outcomes of the climate mitigation investments to determine whether forest sector climate mitigation in the South will result in local changes in wood supply costs or changes in forest product output at a mill level using a spatially explicit model of the U.S. forest sector; and Priority 3 by combining priority 1 and 2 above with information on local census and employment statistics, we would help managers understand how their decisions affect lower income or marginalized populations in the Southern U.S.
Dr. Justin Baker (Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources)