Forests mitigate climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, while conversely, climate change alters forests (their growth, composition, and ability to sequester/store carbon). In this session, Dr. Gough will review our current understanding of climate-forest interactions and discuss the role of forest management in protecting North America’s forest carbon sink. Cultivating biodiversity and forest complexity in managed forests may help to sustain carbon storage even as disturbances increase. Moreover, global forest observations suggest that longer rotations from regeneration to harvest may improve carbon sequestration. As the climate continues to change, adaptive management strategies that allow for flexible adjustments to changing conditions will be central to sustaining forest health and ecosystem services into the future.
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    Shea Wales
    Project Coordinator Forest Products, GreenBlue
    Shea joined the SPC Forest Products team in July 2019. Her science background, collaborative spirit, and passion for sustainability complement her role at GreenBlue, where she helps to facilitate projects and SPC Collaboratives. Shea received her MS in Biology (studying Forest Ecology) from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research sought to understand why some forest stands are “better” at growing and more equipped to withstand climatic disturbances than others. She also holds a BS in Environmental Biology with a minor in Environmental Policy from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.
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    Dr. Chris Gough
    Associate Professor of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University
    Chris Gough is an Associate Professor of Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. His primary areas of research and instructional expertise are in terrestrial carbon cycling and forest ecology. He is the author or co-author of over 100 scientific publications, most recently covering forest-disturbance interactions, carbon sequestration in old-growth forests, and how forests respond to changing climate. Chris received a Ph.D. in Forestry from Virginia Tech and his study systems include industrial timberlands in the southeast and naturally regenerated forests of the upper Midwest.