Hunter Stanke

PhD Student

Univeristy of Washington


I am a PhD student in the The Harvey Lab and the Ecosystem Biogeochemistry Group in School of Environmental and Forest Science at the University of Washington, and current Graduate Research Fellow with the National Science Foundation.

My research interests lie at the intersection of disturbance, landscape, and ecosystem ecology though I am broadly interested in integrating field studies and “big data” to solve pressing issues in forest management and ecology. My current work involves quantifying forest structural restoration needs in the Pacific Northwest, specifically detecting and attributing multidecadal changes in the “ecological departure” of forest landscapes in the region. I am also leading efforts to advance understanding of the consequences of disturbance, climate, and management legacies on temperate forest demography and biomass dynamics across multiple scales.

I am also the lead author and maintainer of rFIA, an R package designed to increase the accessibility and use of the USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Database. Check out our website for more information, tutorials, and documentation on rFIA. You can also find us on CRAN and GitHub, and in a recent article in Environmental Modeling and Software. For bug reports or feature requests, please see our active issues page.


  • Disturbance & Landscape Ecology
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Forest Management


  • PhD Environmental and Forest Science, Current

    Univeristy of Washington

  • MS Forest Science, 2020

    Michigan State Univeristy

  • BS Forestry, 2019

    Michigan State University

Recent Publications

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Advancing broad-scale forest health evaluation and monitoring with rFIA

Changing forest disturbance regimes, invasive species, and unprecedented climatic stress are, in part, driving broad-scale shifts in …

Over half of top tree species in decline in the western United States

Changing forest disturbance regimes and climate are driving accelerated tree mortality across temperate forests. However, it remains …

rFIA: An R package for estimation of forest attributes with the US Forest Inventory and Analysis database

Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) is a US Department of Agriculture Forest Service program that aims to monitor changes in forests …


Agent Based Models for Deer Dispersal Simulation

Traditional methods to assess landscape connectivity often fail to address functional connectivity, that is they fail to consider the …

Connecting the dots: landscape connectivity between locations of chronic wasting disease detection

The composition and configuration of local landscapes influences animal behavior and may lead to directionally-biased movement patterns …

Disease Modeling with Stochastic Networks

Inter-individual contact is a key element affecting the transmission of infectious disease, and variation in contact structure can …

rFIA: Unlocking the FIA Database in R

An R package for estimating forest variables with the Forest Inventory and Analysis Database.

Recent & Upcoming Talks

rFIA: Unlocking the Potential of the FIADB in R

rFIA is an R package designed to simplify the estimation of forest variables using the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Database and …

Vertical Stream Concavity as a Predictor of Solute Transport Behavior in Mountain Headwater Streams

The exchange of water and solutes between reservoirs of the river corridor is essential to maintaining many ecosystem services. While …

Connecting the Dots: A Landscape Approach for Michigan CWD

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy affecting cervid species in select regions of North America. …

Consulting Services

Interested in using the USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Database in your work, but lost on where to start? Contact me with your specific project needs, and see how I can help!

The FIA Database is among the richest ecological datasets in the world, with primary applications in forest health monitoring, carbon accounting, remote sensing, and broad-scale timber product monitoring. Despite being publicly available, complexity in database structure, data coding, and sampling design make the FIA Database extremely difficult to access - even for experienced users.

As the lead author and maintainer of the rFIA R package, I have spent countless hours trudging through the depths of the FIA Database - improving access to FIA’s existing capacity and developing new, improved methods for estimation and forest health evaluation. With this experience in hand, I offer a wide variety of data and analytic services for organizations interested in using FIA data to improve their own work. Contact me to see how I can help!