Scientists & Staff

Anantha Prasad

Research Ecologist
359 Main Road
Delaware, OH, 43015
Phone: 740-368-0103

Contact Anantha Prasad


Current Research

  • Modelling the dynamics of tree species response to various environmental perturbations, especially climate change
  • Evaluating intraspecific variation in tree species response to climate change 
  • Expanding the habitat suitability and migration potential models to encompass the entire conterminous US and across their entire range into Canada
  • Working with a team that consists of Landscape Ecologist, Wildlife Biologist and GIS Specialist, my main focus is on developing cutting edge modelling techniques to assist in tree species conservation and forest health maintenance that the American public demands. I love the challenge of constant innovation required to incorporate rapid developments in modelling/simulation and scientific computing fields.
Prasad, A., & Leites, L. (2021). Ecological analysis of intraspecific variability of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) under climate change by combining provenance and demographic data. Landscape Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-021-01333-4

Prasad, A., Pedlar, J., Peters, M., McKenney, D., Iverson, L., Matthews, S., & Adams, B. (2020). Combining US and Canadian forest inventories to assess habitat suitability and migration potential of 25 tree species under climate change. Diversity and Distributions, 26(9), 1142-1159. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13078

Iverson, L. R., Prasad, A. M., Peters, M. P., & Matthews, S. N. (2019). Facilitating Adaptive Forest Management under Climate Change: A Spatially Specific Synthesis of 125 Species for Habitat Changes and Assisted Migration over the Eastern United States. Forests, 10(11), 989. https://doi.org/10.3390/f10110989

Prasad, A. M. (2018). Machine Learning for Macroscale Ecological Niche Modeling—A Multi-Model, Multi- Response Ensemble Technique for Tree Species Management Under Climate Change. In G. R. Humphries, D. R. Magness, & F. Huettmann (Eds.), Machine Learning for Ecology and Sustainable Natural Resource Management. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-96978-7

Prasad, A. M., & Potter, K. M. (2017). Macro-scale assessment of demographic and environmental variation within genetically derived evolutionary lineages of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), an imperiled conifer of the eastern United States. Biodiversity and Conservation, 26(9), 2223-2249. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-017-1354-4

Research Interests

I am interested in understanding tree species demographic response at a macroecological scale and using ensemble and simulation models to predict future suitable habitats and migration potential. My current interests are:
a) to understand within-species variation by evaluating genetic, ecological and environmental differences among populations under various disturbance regimes using multiple modelling techniques.
b) to expand our models that currently spans the eastern US (https://www.fs.usda.gov/nrs/atlas/tree) to include the entire conterminous US and also into their entire range in Canada and Alaska

I love tinkering with models and scripts to come up with newer techniques and ideas to integrate the various components that constitute dynamic landscapes (ecology, genetics, biogeography etc) to improve management and conservation goals.

Past Research

Prasad, A. M., Iverson, L. R., Matthews, S. N., & Peters, M. P. (2016). A multistage decision support framework to guide tree species management under climate change via habitat suitability and colonization models, and a knowledge-based scoring system. Landscape Ecology, 31(9), 2187-2204. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-016-0369-7

Prasad, A. M., Iverson, L. R., Peters, M. P., Bossenbroek, J. M., Matthews, S. N., Davis Sydnor, T., & Schwartz, M. W. (2010). Modeling the invasive emerald ash borer risk of spread using a spatially explicit cellular model. Landscape Ecology, 25(3), 353-369. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-009-9434-9

Prasad, A. M. (2015). Macroscale intraspecific variation and environmental heterogeneity: Analysis of cold and warm zone abundance, mortality, and regeneration distributions of four eastern US tree species. Ecology and Evolution, 5(21), 5033-5048. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1752

Prasad, A. M., Gardiner, J. D., Iverson, L. R., Matthews, S. N., & Peters, M. (2013). Exploring tree species colonization potentials using a spatially explicit simulation model: Implications for four oaks under climate change. Global Change Biology, 19(7), 2196-2208. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12204

Prasad, A. M., Iverson, L. R., Peters, M. P., Bossenbroek, J. M., Matthews, S. N., Davis Sydnor, T., & Schwartz, M. W. (2010). Modeling the invasive emerald ash borer risk of spread using a spatially explicit cellular model. Landscape Ecology, 25(3), 353-369. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-009-9434-9

Why This Research is Important

Forest health is being increasing affected by both natural and anthropogenic impacts resulting in changing and less robust forest landscapes. The forest managers need help in tackling contemporary issues like the impact of climate change, future seed zones, and assisted migration. My research uses a comprehensive approach which includes multi-stage statistical and simulation modelling, and the evaluation of intraspecific environmental and genetic population differences to address the challenge of forest health maintenance and tree species conservation in the United States and beyond.

Education

  • Miami University ; Bangalore University, M.S. Environmental Science; B.E., Electrical Engineering Electrical Engineering; Environmental Resource Analysis, 1988

Professional Experience

  • Previous Professional Experience, Various 1984 - Current

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Datasets

  • Peters, Matthew P.; Iverson, Louis R.; Prasad, Anantha M.; Matthews, Stephen N. 2019. DISTRIB-II: habitat suitability of eastern United States trees. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2019-0029.
  • Matthews, Stephen N.; Iverson, Louis R.; Peters, Matthew P.; Prasad, Anantha M. 2019. Climate change pressures for the conterminous United States: plant hardiness zones, heat zones, growing degree days, and cumulative drought severity. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2019-0001.

National Research Highlights

Combining FIA and NFI forest inventories of USA and Canada

Collaboration with Canadian Researchers Key to Shared Stewardship of Iconic Tree Species

Year: 2020

Tree inventory data typically are confined to national boundaries and differ in formats and objectives, thus limiting their use for studying species wide ranges. Northern Research Station scientists collaborated with their colleagues in Canada to overcome this barrier to predict current and future habitat quality and calculate colonization likelihoods. Scientists mapped combinations of habitat quality and colonization likelihoods to evaluate management options, including assisted migration.

Figure legend: These maps depict change in an index of drought severity for the period 2070-2099 under multiple climate scenarios. The maps show a large variationin potential drought throughout much of the conterminous US, mostly because of high uncertainty in future precipitation. Based on data from the RPA 2020 Assessment, the ‘warm wet’ figure represents a scenario with increased precipitation and less warming resulting from a relatively rapid reduction of greenhouse gases so that emissions peak ~2040. The ‘hot-wet’ scenario, also with rapid reduction of greenhouse gases, is wet but hot. The ‘hot-slightly dry’ scenario assumes continued current emissions levels for much of this century and is hot with slightly less precipitation, while the ‘hot-dry’ scenario is both dry and hot, resulting in the most severe drought conditions.

Mapping U.S. Drought Projections Helps Foresters Plan for Sustainability

Year: 2018

Droughts are natural disturbances that can cause negative effects on natural ecosystems and also have important social and economic consequences. Researchers are helping land managers prepare for changing climate conditions by developing projections of how drought may change in the future.

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Improving prediction of future habitat distributions under climate change by combining multiple habitat suitability models

Year: 2017

Future habitat distributions are usually forecast using a single model with a single response, such as tree species abundance. Combining multiple models, integrating multiple responses, and looking for consensus and average predictions results in more reliable assessment of future habitat suitability trends under climate warming.

Hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), Ovisacs on the underside of a branch. Michael Montgomery, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Combining Genetics and Environmental Analysis to Assess Conservation Options for Eastern Hemlock

Year: 2016

Eastern hemlock is currently facing a dual threat by the invasive insect hemlock wooly adelgid and anthropogenic climate change. Combining genetic information with distribution models under climate change helps better understand options for the conservation of this imperiled species.

Last modified: Monday, January 31, 2022