The Office of the Vice President for Research recognizes Brian Strahm in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, for studying how carbon, nutrients, and other elements move through forest ecosystems.
An assistant professor in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Strahm focuses on the soil properties and processes that regulate productivity and environmental quality.
Forests cover approximately one-third of the Earth’s land surface and are important focal points for the supply of ecosystem goods and services. In forests, as with nearly all terrestrial ecosystems, soils are the hub of biological and chemical activity.
By understanding the relationships between forest ecosystems and external forces, such as forest management, land use, or global change, scientists can predict how these changes affect soil/ecosystem function, such as carbon sequestration and nitrogen leaching.
Specifically, soils are largely responsible for the sustained productivity of forest ecosystems and regulate key processes that influence larger-scale environmental conditions, such as water quality and atmospheric chemistry.
Strahm has studied the role and responses of forest soils to the mitigation and adaptation of southern pine ecosystems to climate variation.
Also among his research projects, Strahm is examining how to return natural processes to ecosystems that have been severely altered by mining by planting native hardwoods on the disturbed landscape. He is also working with The American Chestnut Foundation to explore ways to utilize reclaimed lands to bring the tree back to North America.
He received a doctoral degree in forest resources from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.