Lauren E. Oakes is an ecologist, human-natural systems scientist, and documentarian. At the core of her passions for research, teaching, and creatively communicating issues of global change is the desire to improve understanding of the human-environment interactions critical to sustainability and to help inform resource management practices. By integrating quantitative and qualitative research methods in the ecological and social sciences, her work contributes to theories and practices of adaptation in a rapidly changing world.
Visit her website: http://www.leoakes.com
Lauren’s expertise is at the nexus of ecology and resource management in social-ecological systems framework. Her dissertation focused on the dieback of yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatentsis) due to climate change in Alaska, a region already highly impacted by climate change. She examined the dynamics of forest decline and how forest users and managers respond to climate-induced tree mortality in their local environment. Her interdisciplinary approach linked social and ecological analyses to develop effective adaptation strategies for ecosystems impacted by climate change.
Lauren takes lots of photographs and writes to reach a broader audience with her scientific research. She has written and photographed for The New York Times Green page, an online blog about energy and the environment.
Conservation: Lauren’s undergraduate interests in deforestation practices in South America (Chile, Brazilian Amazon), inspired her to explore the temperate region of Southeast Alaska. In Alaska, Lauren worked as the Conservation Programs Officer for Trout Unlimited, leading the Alaska program’s science and policy efforts to assess potential risks to fisheries and water resources in Bristol Bay associated with mining development.
Documentary: Prior to coming to Stanford, Lauren balanced her research and policy work in Alaska with documentary filmmaking and co-produced Red Gold in 2008 in collaboration with Felt Soul Media. She toured Indonesia as a Citizen Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State, presenting Red Gold with the American Documentary Showcase. The program focused on cross-cultural exchange regarding local issues of food and water resources and documentary filmmaking as an educational tool. She then worked with Frontline/PBS as an Associate Producer for the film Alaska Gold (2012), an in-depth report on the proposed Bristol Bay Mine.
Writing: She contributed an essay about the history of the Wilderness Act and the current status of Wilderness in the Anthropocene for Wilderness (UNM Press, 2014), with photographs by landscape photographer Debra Bloomfield and writing by Terry Tempest Williams. Motivated to share science and knowledge that can have a positive impact on human health and the environment, Lauren has also written in the Op-Ed format for the San Francisco Chronicle (recently on the issue of use of microbead plastics in face washes and associated hazards).
Guiding and Outdoor Education: Lauren has guided expeditions in recent years for National Geographic Adventures in southeast Alaska. From 2000-2006 Lauren spent her summers working as a professional river guide, guiding multi-day whitewater trips and teaching whitewater schools in Idaho, Utah, and California.
For current research and science communications projects, please visit http://www.leoakes.com.
Lauren’s dissertation focused on the dieback of yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatentsis) due to climate change in Alaska, a region already highly impacted by climate change. She examined the dynamics of forest decline and how forest users and managers respond to climate-induced tree mortality in their local environment. Her interdisciplinary approach linked social and ecological analyses to develop effective adaptation strategies for ecosystems impacted by climate change. Her remote field work was based out of Sitka and Gustavus, Alaska in the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness (Tongass National Forest) and Glacier Bay National Park. She was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.
Lauren's doctoral research was supported by the Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies, E-IPER, and the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University, USDA Forest Service, the George W. Wright Climate Change Fellowship, the Wilderness Society's Gloria Barron Scholarship, and the National Forest Foundation. There are so many wonderful people in Southeast Alaska -- from skilled float plane pilots and boat captains to local volunteers and friends -- who also helped make her fieldwork on the outer coast possible.
She was advised by Stanford Professors Eric Lambin (Land Use Change), Rodolfo Dirzo (Ecology and Conservation Biology), and Nicole Ardoin (Social-Ecology). Her external advisors included Paul Hennon (USDA Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forest Pathology) and Kevin O'Hara (UC Berkeley, Applied Forest Ecology).
Lauren loves combining adventure, research, and education. She is a founding board member of the Inian Islands Institute, a remote place-based field program that provides access to stunning wilderness in Southeast Alaska for researchers to study the deep connections between people and the natural world and complex social-ecological interactions crucial to sustainability.
While at Stanford as a doctoral candidate, she developed and team-taught a summer field course for Stanford undergraduate students. This Earth System Science intensive, In the Age of Anthropocene: Coupled Human and Natural Systems in Southeast Alaska, was based in the town of Sitka and the Inian Islands near her research sites. Advising faculty for this course included Professors Rob Dunbar, Eric Lambin, and Rodolfo Dirzo. The course introduced students to the global questions of land use change and sustainable resource management in the American West through the place-based exploration of Southeast Alaska. Focused on four key social-ecological challenges -- fisheries, forestry, tourism, and energy -- the coupled human-natural systems of Southeast Alaska provided a unique lens for students to learn to assess the sustainability of resource use through various analytical frameworks and methodologies.
In September 2011, Lauren was a teaching assistant for a field-based course for Stanford undergraduates: The Colorado River - Water in the West, as seen from a raft down the Grand Canyon. She also helped to develop the curriculum for this course and enjoyed the combination of outdoor experience with interdisciplinary exploration of water use, development, and conservation in the Colorado River Basin. Lauren has served as a Teaching Assistant for E-IPER's core curriculum course in the PhD program: Research Approaches for Interdisciplinary Problem Solving.
397 Panama Mall
Mitchell Building 101
Stanford, CA 94305-2210
Tel: (650) 723-2544
Report accessibility issues
© Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305. Copyright Complaints