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“Fire and Smoke in the UP of Michigan: An Ecologist’s Perspective” (August 6, 2021)

With Dr. Nancy French, Senior Scientist, Michigan Tech Research Institute

Smoky skies over the UP this summer have reminded us that wildfire is present in forests across North America. Dr. Nancy French, Senior Scientist at the Michigan Tech Research Institute, will present on fire and fire’s impacts on ecology and the role of fire in the ecosystems of Northern Michigan and the greater boreal region of North America. She will also review the impact of fire on air quality and some of the newer data and tools available to map and monitor fire-derived smoke across the country.

Dr. French has a Master’s of Science and PhD from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources. She studies applications of remote sensing to ecology and vegetation studies with a focus on wildfires and their effect on the structure and function of ecosystems. In particular, Dr. French is developing approaches to use satellite data to monitor the spatial and temporal patterns of fire and its impact on terrestrial ecosystems, the carbon cycle, and air quality. Her work has involved studying vegetation and fire disturbance with a variety of remote sensing systems, including synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and multi-spectral sensors, and using geospatial technologies to account for fire emissions at regional and continental scales. In addition to her position at MTRI, Dr. French has taught a course in Remote Sensing of the Environment at the University of Michigan and serves as Adjunct Professor of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University.

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