Events

Walking through the forests of the future: Challenges of integrating forest modeling with virtual reality to visualize forests under climate change.
Monday, February 26, 2018 - 3:30pm

The Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Statistics and Statistical Learning Seminar
presents


Melissa Lucash, Ph.D.
Portland State University

Walking through the forests of the future: Challenges of integrating forest modeling with virtual reality to visualize forests under climate change.

 

Monday February 26, at 3:30 pm, in Harder House 104, 1604 SW 10th Avenue.
 

ABSTRACT

Virtual reality is commonly used in the context of “gaming”, but our project is using virtual reality as a tool to visualize different options for forest management scenario planning to make it “real”. Our interdisciplinary group of scientists with expertise in ecology and virtual reality has created a virtual reality experience of what Wisconsin?s forests may look like in the future under climate change, by linking forest modeling with immersive virtual reality (iVR). We used state of the art geospatial and landscape architecture technologies to convert existing spatial data into commercial 3D model formats. We took projections from a widely used forest simulation model, and converted the maps of species? biomass to maps of data that could be visualized, such as species crown diameter and height, using the FIA database. However, our equations are only simple regression models are not species-species. Therefore our representations are not accurate and our forests do not look realistic. As we move forward with this project over the next three years, we hope to use machine learning with the FIA database to develop more sophisticated, species-specific algorithms to improve our conversion process. By the end of our project in 2022, we will create a portable, Android-compatible version of the 3D model output, allowing the iVR experience to be used with smart phone technology and the public to visualize Wisconsin forests under climate change.

BIO

Dr. Melissa Lucash is a research assistant professor at Portland State University.  She has a PhD in forest ecology and her research examines how disturbances, like fire and insects, affects forests.  Much of her research involves using LANDIS-II, a forest simulation model, which she uses to project how climate change will affect forests.  In addition to the NSF grant in WI that she’ll be discussing today, she has a NSF grant in the Klamath Mountains of OR and CA, a DoD grant in the eastern US and a new NSF grant in Interior Alaska.