Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Fengjing Liu

Advisor 2

Randall Kolka

Committee Member 1

Amy Marcarelli

Committee Member 2

Laura Bourgeau-Chavez


For more than a decade intensive research on the ecohydrology of black ash wetland ecosystems has been performed to understand these systems before they are drastically altered by the invasive species, emerald ash borer (EAB). In that time there has been little research aimed at the scale and persistence of the alterations. Three distinct but related research articles will be presented to demonstrate a method for moderate resolution mapping of black ash across its entire range, understand the relative impacts of EAB and climate change on probable future wetland conditions, and develop an experimental and modeling approach to quantify and reduce uncertainty around water level measurements that underpin much of our understanding in these systems. Results from this research demonstrate that the scale and persistence of these impacts will be dependent not only on the immediate impacts of EAB, but also on vegetative response, the true extent of black ash wetlands on the landscape, and the compounding influence of a changing climate. Major findings from this research include 1) the effects of EAB and climate in the study area are counteracting, generally with a larger drying climate impact, 2) across its range black ash can be distinguished from other forest types using a combination of unsupervised and supervised learning on satellite imagery, and 3) over larger spatial scales and time periods uncertainty of our results is critical for interpretation and should be considered at the lowest level of data collection. At a higher level, this research is intended to serve as a bridge between study-site level changes and the spatial and temporal extent of those changes, opening new research questions to better understand these relatively rapid shifts in regional forested wetlands.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.