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New Beginnings in the New Year


Hello! I am the new Acting Director of the Northeast Climate Hub. On behalf of all of us here at the Hub, I want to extend warm wishes for the New Year and hope for a peaceful, joyous and not-too-extreme 2023!

New Years bring new beginnings, and I am honored to start the year following in the footsteps of Dave Hollinger, who recently retired from the Forest Service. Dave has led the Hub for the past eight years with a steady hand, a sense of humor, and an unwavering commitment to excellence in delivering the best possible climate science to farmers, foresters, and land managers in the Northeast. His work has helped this community adapt to a changing climate and begin to mitigate future impacts. We are grateful for Dave’s years of service to the Northeast Climate Hub!

I’m a Forest Ecologist by training and have been working on climate science since the 1990s.

My passion is to understand what makes northern forests “tick”, particularly how they respond to - and recover from - large scale disturbances like air pollution, climate change and extreme weather events. Over the past three decades, I have conducted numerous climate change experiments in forests (on warming, drought and even ice storms!), analyzed climate change data from around the world, and communicated research findings both in scientific papers and to the public. As the climate crisis deepens around the world, I have become increasingly committed to using climate science to help farmers, foresters and others on the front lines of climate change to adapt to, and mitigate, the impacts of our new normals in short-term weather and long-term climate.

Dr. Lindsey Rustad views tree canopy in ice storm research plot at Hubbard Brook

Caption: Dr. Lindsey Rustad scans tree canopy in ice storm research plot at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest | Credit: Klementovich

I have been a co-Director of the Northeast Climate Hub since 2014, and it is a privilege to serve as Acting Director for the next year.

My goal is to help the Northeast Climate Hub continue to put climate science to work for Americans. To that end, we have a lot of projects planned for 2023, including science syntheses on soil health, flash droughts, and ways to store carbon below ground. We’ll also be training and igniting exchanges among students in forestry and agriculture as well as dairy farmers and advisors to help build the next generation of climate-smart professionals. In addition, we’ll be developing new tools to harness the power of on-farm weather stations, improve irrigation, and map salt-water intrusion in coastal areas. Our projects also reflect our continued efforts to engage and inform people about climate issues through newsletters, science briefs, webinars, climate conversations, film-making and digital content.

2023 is going to be a big year for climate action.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities are providing funds for a comprehensive all-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis. Many of us worry about negative “tipping points” in the climate, like melting glaciers, disrupted ocean currents, or the loss of permafrost. It’s possible that 2023 will be a positive “tipping” or turning point in our efforts to adapt to the changes that have already happened and prevent future global temperature increases above the 1.5°C limit agreed upon in the Paris Accord of 2015.

We are in this together, and we at the Northeast Climate Hub are dedicated to working with the producers of the Northeast for a more equitable, climate-smart, and productive future! Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any suggestions or ideas on how we can best serve the Northeast region.

Lindsey Rustad