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Research

CFEA’s research mission emphasizes the inter- and trans-disciplinary synergies and the ecosystem complexities of forests. Focusing primarily (but not exclusively) on the Cumberland Plateau / Ridge-and-Valley of Alabama and Tennesee, we are investigating the complex ecosystem responses on multiple temporal scales from immediate response (short-term) to long-term, and spatial scale from an individual’s genetic make-up to landscape patterns and processes. 


We have three sub-projects: 


SUB-PROJECT I - Forest Community Responses and Dynamics (FC)​​


Our teams of researchers are addressing the impacts of forest disturbance on the abiotic factors from carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus to ecosystem processes such as carbon balance and storage, as well as biological factors from individual wildlife behavioral response to biodiversity, community dynamics, and ecosystem services.

Our work will have direct economic impact on the local communities, which rely heavily on forest resources.


These sub-projects were chosen with the vision of regional needs for forest ecosystem sustainability. CFEA emphasizes synergy within each sub-project. For example, the common theme is how forest disturbance affects structure, composition, and biodiversity on community, population, organismal, and molecular levels. The wildlife component (SP-I) is working to address how forest management practices affect wildlife biodiversity and population dynamics, while the molecular team is working to address this question by examining genetic diversity across the landscape.


Based on the National Science Foundation's 'Super Center’ concept, we have lined up our research areas with that of the Center for Applied Tropical Ecology (CATEC)​ at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras for future collaboration. CFEA cmphasizes synergy within each sub-project. Team members of each sub-project will work closely to ensure that the research questions are inter-related. For example, within the FC sub-project, the common theme is how forest disturbance affects structure, composition, and biodiversity at the community, population, organismal, and molecular level. The wildlife component will address how forest management practices affect wildlife biodiversity and population dynamics, while the molecular team will address this question by examining the biodiversity at the molecular level.

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This is a Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology, funded through the National Science Foundatio​n​  (grant #  1036600).   ​​

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