Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

MS: Quantifying Uncertainty Estimates Required for Carbon Accounting, Fall 2024 in Syracuse NY 

Two fully funded Masters of Science graduate assistantships starting Fall 2024 (starting August 29) will support students from Central and South America. Our current cohort of QUERCA students are from Mexico, but in this next round of funding, we cannot consider students from Mexico. We encourage applications from people of many walks of life, including women and members of other underrepresented groups in the eligible countries (see list of countries below). Age is not a selection criteria. 
 
Students will be mentored by John Drake, Steve Stehman, and/or Ruth Yanai of the Department of Sustainable Resources Management at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY.  
 
We welcome inquiries from prospective students interested in the broad field of forests and climate change, with specific research projects related to forest carbon accounting, uncertainty analysis, forest biomass dynamics, or map accuracy. Applicants with quantitative training and interests (e.g., statistics, coding) may be strong candidates even if they do not have experience with forests. Possible projects include (a) refining sampling and analysis methods to reduce and better quantify uncertainty of estimates of area and map accuracy in land cover change studies, (b) the uncertainty introduced by not exactly relocating forest biomass plots, (c) uncertainty in root-to-shoot ratios in biomass estimation, or (d) a comparison of Monte Carlo approaches (currently recommended by the IPCC and required by most greenhouse gas inventory standards) and analytical approaches to uncertainty propagation. Some of these topics would involve identifying partially correlated uncertainties and how  
to propagate them. 
 
QUERCA (Quantifying Uncertainty Estimates and Risk for Carbon Accounting) is a developing project, building on the strengths of QUEST (Quantifying Uncertainty in Ecosystem Studies; http://quantifyinguncertainty.org).  The goal of QUERCA is to develop and disseminate peer-reviewed tools and approaches for error propagation for use by carbon accounting technicians and researchers, especially those in tropical countries seeking support from REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; http://www.fao.org/redd/overview/en/) to reduce deforestation and forest degradation for climate mitigation.  We collaborate with scientists from SilvaCarbon (http://www.silvacarbon.org/), USDA Forest Service – International Programs, USAID, FAO, and the World Bank. 
 
Two years of a stipend, full tuition waiver, and health insurance will be provided. We appreciate communicating with students as part of the application process (https://www.esf.edu/international/admissions.htm#IntlAdmitRequirements). 
 
Please express your interest in this position by submitting to Mary Hagemann <forestecology@esf.edu> (1) a cover letter not to exceed 1 page that describes how this position contributes to your career development and specifies at least one potential research project of interest; (2) a CV, unofficial transcripts, and TOEFL and GRE scores if you have them; and (3) the names and contact details for three professional references. 
 
We will begin contacting students for interviews in late November and continue until the positions are filled. 

Eligible countries include: Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina.