Radiocarbon Collaborative

The Radiocarbon Collaborative is dedicated to advancing climate and carbon cycle science by making radiocarbon analysis accessible, decipherable, and collaborative.


The Radiocarbon Collaborative assists researchers in the application of radiocarbon analysis to a wide array of scientific investigations. We generally apply radiocarbon analysis to questions regarding how carbon is cycled and stabilized in ecosystems, and how land management and climate change may influence these processes. These projects include permafrost loss, blue carbon, peatland warming, harvest impacts on soil, and bioenergy cropping systems among others. We also provide traditional artifact dating for archaeologists at the Forest Service Heritage Program and dendrochronology for ecologists studying threatened tree species. We assist researchers from all backgrounds and levels with projects as small as a single bone to investigations as large as a global survey of tropical peatland accumulation rates.

Kate, viewed through rig in radiocarbon lab



In 2021, the Radiocarbon Collaborative: 

photo of container of liquid nitrogen
  • Completed radiocarbon measurements for a global survey of tropical peatlands in collaboration with the Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program. This information will lend insight into climate and land use influences on peat accumulation or loss in these understudied systems.

  • Began two new exciting international collaborations! Both of these projects will utilize institutional archives of soils with the goal of understanding climate and land use impacts on soil carbon stocks.

    ◦ Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a department of the Government of Canada

    ◦ SCION, a Crown research institution of New Zealand

  • Continued our NIFA-sponsored work with Oregon State University. This work uses archives of soils from the Forest Service’s Long-Term Soil Productivity experiments and will allow us to assess forest harvest impacts on soil carbon stocks.

  • Concluded our work with Michigan Technological University assessing fire return interval on hemi- boreal peatlands in Michigan and Wisconsin. This information will directly inform land management decisions in these vulnerable ecosystems.

"Thanks again for doing this. It would not be possible for me, as a faculty member at a small school, to keep my research going without it."

- Zack Taylor, Associate Professor, Berry College

"I can't even begin to tell you how significant these dates are to our interpretation... I will be digesting the new dates, adding them to my map, thinking about their implications, and will contact you with any questions... I look forward to sharing some findings with you and Paula and telling you about where I go from here with these results.​​​​​​​"

- Craig A. Chesner, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geology and Geography, Eastern Illinois University



We look forward to continuing our partnerships with Forest Service researchers, university partners, and state agencies. The Radiocarbon Collaborative will be shifting our formal team membership from NIACS to the Climate, Fire, and Carbon Cycle Sciences research group at the Forest Service Northern Research Station, which reflects the Collaborative’s increased growth and stability. This realignment will allow for better integration of the Collaborative’s services into the basic research community of the Northern Research Station. We will always value our time with NIACS, and will continue to seek out opportunities for collaboration with the whole NIACS team.


2021 Fast Facts

750 radiocarbon targets produced

6 new partners in 2021

Completed and ongoing projects - 25 soil carbon persistence, 15 peatlands, 11 ecology, 10 fire dynamics, 6 wildlife conservation, 6 heritage program, 5 permafrost, 1 geology

530 radiocarbon unknowns processed