Picture2Research Scientist
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University

Doctor of Philosophy, Forest Science, Oregon State University, 2009.
Master of Forestry, Duke University, 2004.
Bachelor of Science, Anthropology and Human Biology, Emory University, 2001.

Research Interests
I utilize a combination of field-based ecological research and landscape-level ecosystem simulation modeling approaches to examine the impacts of climatic change on terrestrial ecosystems. My recent work examines the impacts of climatic variability, fire, and forest management on the long-term landscape-level carbon balance of longleaf, loblolly, and pond pine forests in Atlantic coastal plain. My work on these ecosystems also examines the relationship between soil properties, vegetation, and avifaunal communities, and the ways in which these relationships are impacted by ongoing efforts to restore the longleaf pine ecosystem through a reintroduction of fire to the landscape.  I have also been examining the impact of intra- and inter-annual climate variability on seasonally drought-stressed ecosystems, particularly those that may be vulnerable to ongoing climate change. Most of my work in this regard has focused on the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest, an experimental forest watershed in central Montana. I am currently working toward expanding my research to other ecosystems as well.

Relevant Publications

Mitchell, S.R. (2015) Pyrogenic Carbon Emissions in Mixed and High-Severity Wildfires. In: The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix. Elsevier.

Mitchell S.R., Emanuel R.E., McGlynn B.E. (2015) Land-atmosphere carbon and water flux relationships to vapor pressure deficit, soil moisture, and stream flow. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 208: 108-117.

Mitchell S.R., Christensen N.L., Palmquist K.A., and Cohen S. (2015) Patterns of vegetation composition and diversity in pine-dominated ecosystems of the Outer Coastal Plain of North Carolina: Implications for ecosystem restoration. Forest Ecology and Management (in press).

Palmquist K.A., Peet R.K., Mitchell S.R. (2015) Scale-dependent responses of longleaf pine vegetation to fire frequency and environmental context across two decades. Journal of Ecology 103(4): 998-1008.

Galik C.S, Murray B.C., Mitchell S.R., Cottle, P. (2014) Alternative approaches for addressing non-permanance risk in afforestation and reforestation projects under the clean development mechanism. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. 5, 1-18

Mitchell S.R., Harmon M.E., and O’Connell, K.E.B. (2012) Carbon debt and carbon sequestration parity in forest bioenergy production. Global Change Biology-Bioenergy, 4, 818-827

Cambell J.L., Harmon M.E., and Mitchell S.R. (2011) Can fuel-reduction treatments really increase forest carbon storage in the western US by reducing future fire emissions? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 10, 83-90

Mitchell S.R., Beven K.J., Freer J.E., and Law B.E. (2011) Processes influencing model-data mismatch in drought-stressed, fire-disturbed eddy flux sites. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences 116, G02008.

Mitchell S.R., Harmon M.E., and O’Connell, K.E.B. (2009) Forest fuel reduction alters fire severity and long-term carbon storage in three Pacific Northwest ecosystems. Ecological Applications 19:643-655

Mitchell S.R., Beven K.J., and Freer J.E. (2009) Multiple sources of predictive uncertainty in modeled estimates of net ecosystem CO2 exchange. Ecological Modelling 220: 3259–3270