Background, Research Interests, and Current Projects:
Jane received a dual B.A. in Biology and French Language & Literature from the University of Virginia and spent many years studying avian communities and associated vegetation communities in California, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona before returning to complete an M.S, at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Currently, she is studying the relationship between stand density and tree mortality across the mixed conifer forests of the eastern Lake Tahoe Basin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Pre-settlement forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin, especially Jeffrey pine ( Pinus jeffreyi) and white fir forest ( Abies concolor), were subject to frequent mixed-severity surface fires. Since 1871 fire has largely been excluded from the mixed conifer forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin. In the early 1900s the U.S. Forest Service instituted a full suppression policy and controlled all forest fires. This policy led to significant changes in forest structure and composition, most notably increased stand density and increased dominance of shade-intolerant white fir. These increases in forest density are presumed to have led to increased competition for limited resources and elevated forest mortality from the mid 1980's to present. However, the role of density and density-dependent mortality likely varies across various spatial and temporal gradients within the forested landscape. Her project will examine the relationships between tree mortality and stand density over environmental gradients, forest types, disturbance regimes, and climatic periods from 1987 to present in order to inform current restoration practices and provide a landscape-scale study of forest mortality.