Michael Walters

Associate Professor, Forest Ecology

Michael Walters


210C Natural Resources Building

Phone: (517) 355-1762


Ph.D. in Forestry, University of Minnesota, 1994
M.S. in Biology,University of Utah, 1986
B.S. in Biology, Washington State University, 1983  

    Research Interest

    Michael Walters is a forest ecologist with basic and applied interests in the mechanisms underlying forest pattern and process at scales ranging from communities to landscapes. Recognition of Walters expertise in this area includes over 1,950 citations of his peer reviewed articles, invited presentations at national (Ecological Society of America, Annual Meeting) and international symposia (The Fourth New Phytologist Symposium, Montpellier, France), and seats on advisory boards and committees including, British Columbia Forest Productivity Council, Forest Renewal British Columbia Competitive Grant Review Committee and the Michigan DNR Forest Cultivation Team. Working in a wide range of biomes Walters has gained extensive experience examining the mechanism governing forest succession, forest productivity and spatio-temporal patterns of forest dynamics. Some of Walters’ current projects include “Climate and site effects on the productivity of European larch and red pine”, “Substrate, seed dispersal and resource limitations to hardwood regeneration dynamics in red pine plantations”, Spatio-temporal patterns of forest dynamics in managed and unmanaged sub-boreal spruce-forests with and without Innotus tomentosus root disease” and “The factors that reinforce deer caused shifts in vegetation composition and structure”. Through his appointment as a PERM (Partnerships in Ecosystem Research and Management) Assistant Professor of Forest Ecology with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University, Walters has focused his research efforts on forest ecology problems of management concern. Evidence of management’s interest in his research includes financial and in kind support from a diverse set of stakeholders including Mead Corporation, International Paper, Sand County Foundation, Michigan DNR, and the US Forest Service.

    Recent Grants Awarded

    Walters, MB (67%), Roloff G (33%). “Silvicultural approaches for promoting diversity and sustainability in Michigan’s northern hardwood forests” Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Amount requested: $1,027,189. (Proposed project period: 10 years, starting November 2015, 6 years of funding requested due to time limit for DNR contracts). Date submitted to DNR 2015-08-05

    Selected Publications

      Walters MB, Willis JL, Farinosi EJ, Randall JA. Is two meters a critical height threshold for temperate forest tree recruitment? (In preparation).

      Willis JL, Walters MB, Farinosi EJ. Local Seed Source Availability Limits Young Seedling Populations More Than Other Factors in Northern Hardwood Forests. Forest Science (in press).

      Walters MB, Farinosi EJ, Willis JL, Gottschalk KW. Managing for diversity: harvest gap size drives complex light, vegetation, and deer herbivory impacts on tree seedlings. Ecosphere (in press).

      Kern CC, Burton JA, Raymond P, D’Amato AW, Keeton WS, Royo AA, Walters MB, Webster CR, Willis JL. Challenges facing gap-based silviculture and possible solutions for mesic northern forests. Forestry (in press).

      Willis JL, Walters MB, Gottschalk KW, 2015. Scarification and gap size have interacting effects on northern temperate tree seedling establishment. For Ecol Man 347: 237-246.

      Walters MB, Willis JL, Gottschalk KW. 2014. Seedling growth responses to light and mineral N form are predicted by species ecologies and can help explain tree diversity. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44: 1356-1368.

      Walters MB, Gerlach JP. 2013. Intraspecific growth and functional leaf trait responses to natural soil resource gradients for conifer species with contrasting leaf habit. Tree Physiology 33: 297-310.

      Millington JDA, Walters MB, Matonis MS, Liu J. 2013. Filling the gap: A compositional gap regeneration model for managed northern hardwood forests. Ecological Modelling 253:17-27.

      Millington JDA, Walters MB, Matonis MS, Liu J. 2013. Modelling for forest management synergies and trade-offs: Northern hardwood tree regeneration, timber, and deer. Ecological Modelling 248:103-112.

      Jerabkova, L, Prescott, CE, Titus BD, Hope GD, Walters MB (2011) A meta-analysis of the effects of clearcut and variable-retention harvesting on soil nitrogen fluxes in boreal and temperate forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 41: 1852-1870.

      Millington JDA, Walters MB, Matonis MS, Laurent EJ, Hall KR, Liu JG (2011) Combined long-term effects of variable tree regeneration and timber management on forest songbirds and timber production. Forest Ecology and Management 262: 718-729.

      Matonis MS, Walters MB, Millington JDA (2011) Gap-, stand-, and landscape-scale factors contribute to poor sugar maple regeneration after timber harvest. Forest Ecology and Management 262: 286-298.

      Randall JA, Walters MB (2011) Deer density effects on vegetation in aspen forest understories over site productivity and stand age gradients. Forest Ecology and Management 261: 408-415.

      Millington JDA, Walters MB, Matonis MS, Liu JG (2010) Effects of local and regional landscape characteristics on wildlife distribution across managed forests. Forest Ecology and Management 259: 1102-1110.

      Kobe RK, Iyer, M, Walters, MB. 2010. Optimal partitioning theory revisited: Non-structural carbohydrates dominate root mass responses to nitrogen. Ecology 91: 166-179.

      Millington JDA, Walters MB, Matonis MS Liu, JG. 2010. Effects of local and regional landscape characteristics on wildlife distribution across managed forests. Forest Ecology and Management 259: 1102-1110.