Carbon Trends and Management Partners

NIACS work related to Carbon Trends and Management maintains and cultivates partnerships to ensure technically robust science, effective information delivery, and strategic growth. Scientific partnerships include research collaborators from government, academia, and non-profits. These partnerships are the foundation of NIACS projects ranging from pure research into soil organic matter radiocarbon dynamics, to applied research into management impacts on carbon sequestration.

Carbon Trends and Management


The Carbon Trends and Management theme incorporates NIACS efforts that design, produce, and disseminate scientific information about land use, management, and the carbon cycle. General focus areas include quantifying the effects of land use change and forest management on soil carbon sequestration, assessing how forest biomass production changes with disturbance or succession, and investigating interactions between forest carbon and other ecosystem components, such as hydrology or nutrient cycling.

Chris Swanston

Chris has served as the director of NIACS for the past ten years and played an active role in most of the Institute’s projects, including directing the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub. He also studies forest soil carbon dynamics as a research ecologist for the Northern Research Station. He holds a PhD in forest science from Oregon State University. Chris enjoys a range of activities, including collecting mugs, trail running, snowshoe running, bicycling, and fishing. Chris does not like cooked vegetables or mushrooms, because they’re gross.

Todd Ontl

Todd’s work as the Fellow for the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub centers around supporting and contributing to climate adaptation trainings, synthesizing information on regional climate impacts and adaptation responses, with a focus on forest adaptation for carbon management. He is also responsible for evaluating adaptation decision-making in forest management through analyses of the forest adaptation demonstration projects developed through the Climate Change Response Framework.

Luke Nave

Luke is an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Michigan, based at its Biological Station (UMBS) at the far northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. He joined NIACS in 2010, and his primary work is to maintain a collaborative research program on forest carbon and biogeochemistry through UMBS-based and large-scale data-based efforts with NIACS, federal agency, and academic partners. Luke is an avid outdoorsman and spends his free time enjoying the Northwoods through hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, and making maple syrup. 

Kate Heckman

Kate Heckman studies soil biogeochemistry and terrestrial C cycling at a variety of scales, with a special emphasis on organo-mineral interactions. Kate also serves as lead of the Radiocarbon Collaborative, an outreach effort that supports radiocarbon use in earth system sciences and the Forest Service Heritage program. Outside of work, Kate enjoys cooking, home remodeling, traveling, and learning about her new home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.