Ben Ahlswede

Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

Ben is a Ph.D. student interested in the interactions of terrestrial ecosystems and the climate system, and how the terrestrial carbon sink will change in the future. Ben works with observational data from eddy flux towers and satellites, such as LANDSAT, and uses the Community Earth System Model (CESM) to simulate large scale experiments on a global scale.
Before completing his Bachelors, Ben spent several years working for Outward Bound, taking students of all ages on backpacking, canoeing and rock climbing trips from 5 to 30 days in length. He continued to introduce people to the outdoors as he completed his bachelors at Shippensburg University in Ecology and Environmental Biology. While there, he researched the behavior of adult Ambystomatid salamanders.


Ben came to Virginia Tech as a Masters student in the forestry department. He studied the effects of land-use and land cover change on the energy balance at the land surface. He specifically focused on how forests in temperate North America affect surface temperatures.
Ben is currently working with the National Center for Atmospheric Research to add the ability to simulate different forest management techniques as part of a larger project investigating the effects of managed ecosystems on climate.
In his free time, Ben enjoys hiking, running and backpacking. He successfully completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2012 before starting his graduate studies. He is also a founding member of the Blue Ridge Orienteering Club and is working to bring orienteering to Southwestern Virginia.