Postdoctoral Associate

Caitlin is a forest ecologist specializing in climate change adaptation. She uses both field data and models to understand how forests are responding to climatic changes, and she works directly with natural resources managers to develop strategies and priorities for promoting the resilience of our forested landscapes.

In the Silviculture and Applied Forest Ecology Lab at UVM, Caitlin is currently evaluating adaptation science needs of forestry practitioners throughout the northeast, in partnership with the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center. She is also evaluating the trade-offs associated with managing forests for carbon storage while meeting wildlife habitat objectives, as well as quantifying the intensity of climate adaptation activities required to ensure species persistence on the landscape. Prior to arriving at UVM, Caitlin was a research fellow at the University of Montana with the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center after completing her PhD at the University of Washington. In those capacities, she used field-data to investigate post-fire forest recovery, modeled landscape connectivity to support species’ tracking of suitable climatic conditions, and surveyed public land visitors to uncover their perceptions of climate adaptation options on forested public lands. Her Master’s thesis in UVM’s Carbon Dynamics Lab quantified the effects of forest bioenergy harvesting on forest stand structure.

Caitlin is a member of the Richmond Conservation Commission and can often be found scheming about how to get more kids outside more often.

Publications

  • Littlefield, C.E. 2019. Topography and post-fire climatic conditions structure temporal and spatial patterns of conifer establishment and growth. Fire Ecology 15:34.
  • Littlefield, C.E., M. Krosby, J. Michalak, and J.J. Lawler. 2019. Connectivity for species on the move: approaches to aid climate-driven range shifts. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 17(5): 270–278.
  • Littlefield, C.E., E. Nelson, B. Dittbrenner, J. Withey, K. Arkema, and J. Lawler. 2019. Ecosystem-based Adaptation. Chapter 23 in T.E. Lovejoy and L. Hannah (eds.). Biodiversity and Climate Change: Transforming the Biosphere. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Littlefield, C.E., B.H. McRae, J. Michalak, J.J. Lawler, and C. Carroll. 2017. Connecting today’s climates to future climate analogs to facilitate species movement under climate change. Conservation Biology. 31(6)1397-1408.
  • Littlefield, C.E. and W.S. Keeton. 2012. Bioenergy harvesting impacts on ecologically important stand structure and habitat characteristics. Ecological Applications 22(7):1892-1909.
Caitlin Littlefield

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Forest ecology, landscape ecology, climate change adaptation, conservation, environmental education

Education

  • PhD, Environmental and Forest Sciences. University of Washington 2018
  • MS, Natural Resources: Forestry. University of Vermont 2012
  • BA, Conservation Biology, minor in Economics. Middlebury College 2008

Contact