Research Expertise and Interest

agriculture, climate change, ecology, forests, tropics

Research Description

Lara Kueppers is an Assistant Professor in the Energy and Resources Group, with a Faculty Scientist appointment at Berkeley Lab. She is an interdisciplinary environmental scientist, whose research focuses on ecological responses and feedbacks to climate change. She uses field experiments and observations, as well as models, to understand climate-ecosystem interactions in forests and agroecosystems. Dr. Kueppers is deputy director of Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments—Tropics, a long-term, multi-institution project funded by the Department of Energy, to better understand and project tropical forest feedbacks to climate change.

Previously, Dr. Kueppers was a Research Scientist in the Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division at Berkeley Lab and an Assistant Professor at UC Merced. She holds a PhD from UC Berkeley, and MS and BS degrees from Stanford University.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
May 26, 2020
Elizabeth Pennisi
Because tropical forests absorb so much carbon dioxide, they're one of the best antidotes to climate change, but there's a catch. Heat stress and drought kill trees, releasing their stored carbon back into the atmosphere. A new study suggests that if warming reaches 2°C above preindustrial levels, vast portions of tropical forests will begin to lose more carbon than they take in. However, associate energy and resources professor Lara Kueppers is concerned that the study might be too optimistic in forecasting that cooler forests, especially in Asia and Africa, will continue to absorb large amounts of carbon as they warm. She says it's not certain that those forests will behave the way ones in South America have, or that they can adapt to the speed of human-induced climate change. "I don't have confidence that forests are going to be able to adjust on the time scale they will need to," she says.
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