Dave Auty

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September 12, 2022 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Modeling wood properties: approaches, challenges, and future directions

David Auty
Associate Professor
School of Forestry
Northern Arizona University


Statistical, conceptual, and inferential models have many applications in forestry, ecology, biology, and related fields. These include understanding physiological processes, investigating relationships between variables (e.g., tree growth and climate), and predicting the effects of forest management on intrinsic wood properties and product performance. Integrating these diverse approaches into a unified modelling framework is difficult because wood properties have many sources of variation at multiple scales: within and among trees, species, sites, and larger geographies. The wide range of silvicultural practices available to managers   add complexity to patterns in wood properties variation.

In this presentation, Dr Auty will discuss his research in the field of wood properties modelling, including the various methodological approaches designed to consider the effects of silvicultural practices, and the development of wood properties ‘stem maps’. He will highlight some recent technological innovations which facilitate direct or indirect measurement of wood properties. He will demonstrate the importance of developing open-source tools (statistical or otherwise) that can inform forest management decision-making. Finally, he will discuss some current projects he is working on, as well as some potential developments in wood properties research, including integration of wood properties predictions into forest growth and yield models, which are intended to facilitate landscape-scale predictions of wood and fiber characteristics.

Bio and Research Interests

Dr David Auty is an associate professor in the School of Forestry at NAU. He earned his MSc in Forest Ecology at the University of Edinburgh in 2006 and his PhD in Forest Science at the University of Aberdeen in 2011. After graduating he spent three years as a postdoctoral scholar at Laval University in Quebec City. His research interests focus on understanding the effects of forest management activities on wood properties variation at multiple scales. He has worked on diverse species globally, including Scots pine (Scotland), Sitka spruce and western hemlock (Alaska), black spruce and white spruce (Canada), loblolly pine (southeastern US), Douglas-fir (northwestern US), mixed northern hardwood forests (Canada), temperate mixed forests (northeastern China), and ponderosa pine (southwestern US). He is interested in the use of acoustic tools and other nondestructive techniques to assess wood properties and is a co-author of the R package “lidR”.