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Stanford scholar finds resiliency in Alaskan forests ravaged by climate change

Stanford researcher Lauren Oakes working on a laptop in a tent
Image credit: Paul Fischer
Nov 29 2018
Education, Fellow, Stanford, Students

Ice caps are melting, the ocean is acidifying and extreme weather is plaguing those who live in vulnerable areas. But in the face of climate change, there are also stories of hope: communities coming together, species adapting to new conditions and people finding ways to help those less fortunate than themselves.

In her research as a doctoral candidate at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth), Lauren Oakes found those stories by following the fate of the yellow cedar tree in Southeast Alaska. Rather than focusing on the loss of this species, she discovered the resiliency of forgotten forests that recovered from years of climate change impacts.

As a student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER), Oakes published academic studies about forest ecology and human strategies for adaptation in the rapidly changing region. She wrote about these experiences in her new book, In Search of the Canary Tree. Stanford Report spoke with Oakes about the societal impacts unearthed by this research and what we can learn when we look beyond the science.

Lauren Oakes is a 2013 Gerald J. Lieberman Fellow

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