James Raich

photo of Jim Raich

I am an ecosystem scientist with training in botany, plant ecology, silviculture, biogeochemistry, and systems modeling. My favorite ecosystem is the tropical rain forest, because there is where biology is unleashed from physical constraints. I currently am a professor in the Department of E E O and B, who participates in the Interdepartmental Graduate Programs in Environmental Science and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.

Area of Expertise: 
Terrestrial Ecosystems

The central theme of my research is carbon cycling within terrestrial ecosystems, including tropical forests. Basically that means that I am interested in everything that is alive or once was, and its environment. Plant productivity and soil C dynamics are common foci of my empirical work, which I undertake at local to global scales, to promote integration. I utilize field experiments, observational studies, and integrative modeling in my research, and seek to address controls over ecosystem dynamics.

Broader Impact: 

My long-held interests in carbon cycling and the impacts of environment and human activities on ecosystem dynamics place my work centrally within the field of global change analysis. I am oriented toward addressing big questions that relate directly to the understanding of feedbacks among atmospheric and terrestrial carbon cycles and people. My 1992 paper with Schlesinger was selected by ISI as a "citation classic" in Global Warming. I also have spent some time developing better research tools for measuring belowground processes, including soil carbon budgets, intact root-decay cores, and artificial soils for controlled experimentation.

Key Environmental Science Publications: 

Raich JW. 2017. Temporal variability of soil respiration in experimental tree plantations in lowland Costa Rica. Forests 8,40. doi:10.3390/f8020040

Raich J.W., Lambers H. and Oliver D.J. 2014. Respiration in Terrestrial Ecosystems. In: Holland H.D. and Turekian K.K. (eds.) Treatise on Geochemistry, Second Edition, vol. 10, pp. 613-649. Oxford: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-08-095975-7.00817-2

Russell, AE & Raich JW. 2012. Rapidly growing tropical trees mobilize remarkable amounts of nitrogen, in ways that differ surprisingly among species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(26): 10398-10402. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1204157109

Zhang J, Loynachan TE, Raich JW. 2011. Artificial soils to assess temperature sensitivity of the decomposition of model organic compounds: effects of chemical recalcitrance and clay-mineral composition.  European Journal of Soil Science 62: 863-873. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2389.2011.01394.x

Litton C.M., J.W. Raich and M.G. Ryan. 2007. Carbon allocation in forest ecosystems. Global Change Biology 13: 2089-2109. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2007.01420.x

Raich, J. W., A. E. Russell, K. Kitayama, W. J. Parton, and P. M. Vitousek.  2006.  Temperature influences carbon accumulation in moist tropical forests.  Ecology 87:76-87.

Raich, J. W., C. S. Potter and D. Bhagawati. 2002.  Interannual variability in global soil respiration, 1980-1994.  Global Change Biology 8: 800-812.

Raich, J. W., and W. H. Schlesinger.  1992.  The global carbon dioxide flux in soil respiration and its relationship to vegetation and climate.  Tellus 44B: 81-99.

Ph.D., Forest Ecology & Silviculture, Duke University, 1987
M.S., Plant Ecology, University of Florida, 1980
B.S., Botany, Michigan State University, 1977