Cazimir Kowalski

I am Cazimir Kowalski (they/them), a PhD student studying the forests and prairie systems and the relationship between them through the paleoecology of Upper Midwest forests and grasslands. In the pre-industrial Holocene, the Upper Midwest likely exhibited alternate stable states in a similar fashion to contemporary ecosystems of immense global importance in the Amazon and Sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, understanding the historical vegetation dynamics of the Upper Midwest provides a valuable source of information for management decisions in the face of climate change. My research focuses specifically on untangling the relationship between climate and vegetation community dynamics by examining feedbacks internal to forest and prairie systems, and how those in combination with a changing climate and other abiotic factors produce vegetation assemblages. Along with collaborators from the PalEON project and the Ecological Forecasting initiative, I use statistical modeling, palynological data, and other data in combination to understand vegetation dynamics and the dynamics of the prairie-forest ecotone as well as to produce robust estimates of historical vegetation composition, structure, and biomass.