Lab Members

Photo of Adam Daigneault to accompany his descriptive paragraph. Dr. Adam Daigneault

I’m a resource economist who joined the UMaine School of Forest Resources faculty in 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Forest, Recreation, and Conservation Policy. I received my Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from Ohio State University in 2006, and have spent the past decade developing quantitative models to assess the socioeconomic impacts of environmental policy on the natural resource sectors. My research has focused on a wide range of issues, including freshwater management, climate change mitigation, and adaptation, invasive species control, and valuing ecosystem services. Prior to my move to Maine, I was a Senior Economist at Landcare Research, New Zealand’s leading institute on terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity research, and an Economist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While in both roles, I worked extensively on policy analysis relating to climate change, biofuels, and land-use change. I’m a native Mainer who grew up on the Midcoast and returned home after 18 years living and working in Ohio, Oregon, Washington DC, India, and New Zealand. I’m also an avid triathlete and runner who makes the best of Maine’s long winters by cross country skiing the university’s abundant trail network.

To see his faculty page click here.

 

Photo of Sonja Birthisel to accompany her descriptive paragraph. Dr. Sonja Birthisel

Dr. Sonja Birthisel is a lab Research Associate and Director of the Wilson Center. After completing her PhD in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Maine in 2018, Sonja joined the Forest Policy and Economics Lab to work on several collaborative projects aimed at improving climate resilience on Maine farms. Sonja’s current research falls at the nexus of applied agroecology, human decision-making, and global change. Her teaching responsibilities for the 2019-2020 academic year included Introduction to Ecology and Environmental Sciences (EES 117), Senior Capstone (EES 489), Human Populations and the Global Environment (EES 100), and student advising.
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To visit her website click here.
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Photo of Jianheng Zhao to accompany her descriptive paragraph. Jianheng Zhao

Jianheng is a currently Postdoctoral Research Associate in the lab.  Her academic interests include timber supply and demand, conservation, analysis of public policies, and non-market valuation. She joined the lab in the fall of 2017 and works with Dr. Daigneault to analyze landowner’s harvest decisions in the new era of conservation stewardship, and to simulate the future timber and carbon supply with climate change. Working with Dr. Daigneault and Mary Ignatiadis, they developed the Five Future Pathways of Maine’s forest sector. She also participates in the Katahdin indicators project, exploring the multi-dimensions of sense of place, and factors that influence a resident’s attitude towards development strategies. In her spare time, she enjoys travels, gardening, fishing, and watercolor. Jianheng received her Ph.D. in Forest Policy and Economics from UMaine in December 2020.
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Photo of Gabby Sherman to accompany her descriptive paragraph. Gabby Sherman

Gabby is a Ph.D. student affiliated with the Natural Resource Trainee program and is seeking a degree in forest resources under Dr. Adam Daigneault. She has worked since fall 2019 to analyze indicators of socio-economic resilience within the rural communities of Maine. This project aims to evaluate the ability of communities to respond to shocks and stressors relative to other townships within the state. Furthermore, she will engage with community residents to determine perceptions surrounding resilience, capital access, and natural resource industries, and how these views may differ by region or demographics. Gabby previously earned her BS in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University, and her MS in forest resources from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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Photo of Libin Louis to accompany his descriptive paragraph. Libin T. Louis

Libin is a Ph.D. student in forest operation and forest economics under the supervision of Dr. Anil Raj Kizha and Dr. Adam Daigneault. Libin’s research interests are timber harvesting, product allocation, and market evaluation. He joined the lab in the spring of 2019 and works in estimating the cost and productivity of harvesting small-diameter trees (SDT) in Maine under various market scenarios. His thesis also evaluates the forester’s and landowner’s incentives and constraints to harvest SDT in Maine. With the goal to analyze the likely policy options for developing robust and consistent harvest, and processing of SDT in Maine under a range of socio-economic and market conditions. Libin completed his M.S. in forestry from the University of British Columbia, Canada in 2018, and his B.S. in Forestry from Kerala Agriculture University, India in 2014. He loves to spend his spare time traveling and hiking.

 

 

 Logan Woodyard

Logan is pursuing a M.S. of Forest Resources. Coming from a line of family of Appalachian loggers and hardwood mill owners, she is interested in understanding how regional economic environments and policies affect timber supply and demand. Logan has provided research for Maine’s Forest Carbon Task Force which seeks to enhance carbon sequestration through forest management as a part of Maine’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2045. Currently, she is doing work within the lab to model the integration between Maine’s forest ecosystem and economic environment under a variety of scenarios. Logan earned her undergraduate degree in Agriculture Business and Economics from The Ohio State University in 2020. In her free time, she enjoys reading, decorating, and exploring the world via Google Earth.

 

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Photo of Joey Reed to accompany his descriptive paragraph. Joey Reed

Joey is a graduate student in the lab, who is pursuing his M.S. in Resource Economics and Policy. Joey earned his B.S. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences and Economics from the University of Maine in 2020. Joey has been a research assistant in the lab for the past 3 years and continues to help Adam, other faculty, and students with their research tasks varying from the Natural Climate Solutions project to the Katahdin Resilience project. Joey’s thesis project serves to understand how natural resource-dependent communities respond to economic shocks. When not studying Joey enjoys tennis, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking but will rarely turn down an opportunity for any outdoor adventure.

 

 

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Abby Bennett

Abby grew up in and has lived most of her life in the Oxford Hills region of Western Maine. She graduated from UMaine in 2018 with a degree in financial economics. In the three years that followed, she worked at an investment consulting firm in Boston as a fund manager research analyst and then at a local bank in Portland as a credit analyst. During this time, she volunteered at her local land trust, Western Foothills Land Trust, identifying and successfully applying for a grant that helped the land trust develop a “farm to town” trail to connect Norway’s main street directly to recreational trails. This work inspired her to return to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in ecology so that she can pivot her career into the conservation space. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in ecology and environmental science and working with Dr. Adam Daigneault on the Municipal Budgets and Conservation research project, funded by the National Science Foundation funded Research Traineeship (NRT) program.
Abby grew up canoeing, nordic skiing, and hiking in the Maine woods and waters, with regular trips to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. This love for the outdoors never left her, and in her free time she can be found trail running in the White Mountains or skiing at Roberts Farm in Norway.

Recent Alums

Photo of Mary Ignatiadis to accompany her descriptive paragraph. Mary Ignatiadis

Mary received a M.S. in Forest Economics and Policy from UMaine in December 2020. Mary believes that more efficient land use is key to improving rural and urban livelihoods and lessening the impacts of climate change. Within the Forest Policy and Economics Lab, she worked on characterizing the regulatory and socioeconomic systems driving land use change in Maine. Her thesis work evaluated the land use impacts and economic viability of scaling up new, wood-based technologies in the state in an alternative futures framework. Outside of the Lab, Mary is active in UMaine Supporting Women in Forestry Today (SWIFT) and explores Maine’s working landscapes on skis. Mary earned her B.S. in geosciences from Williams College in 2016. She plans to combine her experiences in economics research and stakeholder engagement to facilitate sustainable infrastructure development and natural resources management in the future.  Mary currently works as a sustainability analyst for the Hancock Natural Resources Group.

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Photo of Ruthie Clements to accompany her descriptive paragraph. Ruthie Clements

Ruthie received a M.S. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from UMaine in May 2021, and was co-advised Dr. Adam Daigneault and Dr. Eric Gallandt. Ruthie believes in improving the climate resiliency of communities through stakeholder engagement and transdisciplinary research efforts. Her thesis focused on understanding farmers’ climate change perspectives, resource needs, and farm priorities in order to improve climate change communication by outreach professionals. Ruthie earned her B.A. in biology and global studies from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. In her free time, Ruthie enjoys gardening, traveling off the beaten path, and any excuse to explore the outdoors. Ruthie is currently a research technician in UMaine’s Weed Ecology lab.