Beverly Law


College of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences


I research how climate and disturbance affect ecosystem function in forests, woodlands, and shrublands at scales from leaf to ecosystem, region and the globe. Human influence on ecosystems is a major driver of change. My work includes the effects of management activities such as thinning and land-use change on ecosystem function, and studies on species-specific traits that affect sensitivity to climate. My research team conducts field measurements along ecoclimatic gradients on drought sensitivity of species and developmental stages of trees, ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of carbon, water and energy in different forest types and age classes and in sagebrush steppe. We combine observations and land-system modeling that incorporates physiological trait sensitivity to predict vulnerability of ecosystems to changing climate in the future, and the interactive effects of climate and actions taken to mitigate impacts in Oregon and the western US. We emphasize the importance of conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem function in the face of climate extremes and increasing human appropriation of land and productivity in the Anthropocene.

Selected publications

Berner, L.T., B.E. Law, A. Meddens and J. Hicke (2017) Tree biomass mortality from fires, bark beetles, and timber harvest during a hot, dry decade in the western United States (2003-2012). Environmental Research Letters 103485.

Berner, L.T. and B.E. Law (2015) Water limitations on forest carbon cycling and conifer traits along a steep climatic gradient in the Cascade Mountains, Oregon. Biogeosciences 12: 6617-6635. doi:10.5194/bg-12-6617-2015.

Law, B.E. and R.H. Waring (2015) Carbon implications of current and future effects of drought, fire and management on Pacific Northwest forests. Forest Ecology and Management 355: 4-14.

Law, B.E. (2014) Regional analysis of drought and heat impacts on forests: current and future science directions. Global Change Biology 20: 3595-3599. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12651.

Law, B.E., T. Hudiburg and S. Luyssaert (2013) Thinning effects on forest productivity: Consequences of preserving old forests and mitigating impacts of fire and drought. Plant Ecology & Diversity 6: 73-85. John Grace Festschrift - Forest and Environment Special Issue. doi: 10.1080/17550874.2012.679013.

Gonçalves, F., M. Yatskov, J.R. dos Santos, R.N. Treuhaft and B.E. Law (2010) Relating LANDSAT ETM+ and forest inventory data for mapping successional stages in a tropical wet forest. Ambiência Guarapuava (PR) v.6 Ed. Especial: 167 – 174. ISSN 1808 – 0251.

Fontaine, J.B., Donato, D., W.D. Robinson, B.E. Law and J.B. Kaufmann (2009) Bird communities following high-severity fire: Response to single and repeat fires in a mixed-evergreen forest, Oregon, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 257: 1496-1504.

Donato, D., J.B. Fontaine, W.D. Robinson, J.B. Kaufmann and B.E. Law (2009) Vegetation response to a short interval between high-severity wildfires in a mixed-evergreen forest. Journal of Ecology 97: 142-154. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2008.01456.x

Turner, D.P., M. Guzy, M. Lefsky, S. Van Tuyl, O. Sun, C. Daly and B.E. Law (2003) Effects of land use and fine scale environmental heterogeneity on net ecosystem production over a temperate coniferous forest landscape. Tellus 55B: 657-668.

Law, B.E., E. Falge, D.D. Baldocchi, P. Bakwin, P. Berbigier, K. Davis, A.J. Dolman, M. Falk, J.D. Fuentes, A. Goldstein, A. Granier, A. Grelle, D. Hollinger, I.A. Janssens, P. Jarvis, N.O. Jensen, G. Katul, Y. Mahli, G. Matteucci, R. Monson, W. Munger, W. Oechel, R. Olson, K. Pilegaard, K.T. Paw U, H. Thorgeirsson, R. Valentini, S. Verma, T. Vesala, K. Wilson and S. Wofsy (2002) Environmental controls over carbon dioxide and water vapor exchange of terrestrial vegetation. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 113: 97-120. *World Meteorological Organization Paper of the Year, Norbert-Gerbier Mumm Award.