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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Climate Change Impacts on Forests Research Focus for Fulbright Scholar

October 5, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The impact of climate change on forests and the implications it may bring to the United States will be the research focus of Ohio State University agricultural economist Brent Sohngen when he travels to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as a Fulbright Scholar next year.


Sohngen, a professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, was recently selected as a recipient of the Fulbright fellowship. Recipients are selected by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, which administers the program for the U.S. Department of State. The Office of International Affairs serves as the campus representative for the Fulbright Scholars program.

Sohngen, with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, has studied climate change impacts in forested ecosystems for over 15 years.

“Climate change may alter the distribution and productivity of the world’s forests and have enormous impacts on human welfare,” Sohngen said. “It is important to consider these potential impacts in order to begin developing strategies to adapt.”

Forested ecosystems – the world’s largest land use – encompass over 3.4 billion hectares of land, with over 600 million hectares in North America. In many regions they are heavily managed for timber resources, and they face competition from alternative uses such as agriculture.

During his four-month stay from March 2011 to July 2011, Sohngen will be affiliated with the University of Alberta. In addition to his research, Sohngen will give lectures to students and faculty in the field, as well as at the university.

Sohngen’s research project, “Climate, Carbon Sequestration, and the Competitiveness of the Canadian Forest Sector in a Global Economy,” will examine the impact of climate change on forests globally and trace those impacts to markets and land use. In particular, his analysis will examine how climate change may affect forests and land use in Canada.

“Even though our forest productivity may not change dramatically with climate change, forest management in the U.S. may become less competitive due to improving conditions elsewhere,” he said.

Sohngen said the Fulbright program provides a great opportunity to assist researchers in funding visits.

“This award will give me an opportunity to expand my research program in several new ways and to enhance collaborations with new colleagues at the University of Alberta,” he said.

Sohngen earned his PhD in environmental economics from Yale University and has been at Ohio State University since 1996.

Maureen Miller
Brent Sohngen